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Public protest prompts safety concerns as councillors reportedly ask for police

Craigavon Civic Centre protest

Fears for councillors’ safety were raised at a meeting of full Council in Craigavon last night (Monday).

Union representatives gathered outside the main Civic Centre building in protest at at the potential outsourcing of leisure service provision, something they fear would be the start of privatisation across the borough.

And while the unions protested, a secondary protest broke out under the window to the main Council chamber where councillors began debating on that and other issues.

Several of those involved in that protest reportedly began playing sirens, chanting, and shining lights lights through the first floor window.

A number of council officers were forced into abandoning their seats close to the window, before taking refuge elsewhere in the chamber.

There were also suggestions that the police should be called and that lights being flashed through the window could result in epileptic fits.

As the noise continued, a number of councillors criticised the fact that details of a confidential meeting relating to the leisure services had been leaked to the media last week.

That leak suggested that the council was preparing to establish what is known as a Council Company – or CoCo.

However, during a confidential portion of the meeting it was agreed that Council would continue to deliver leisure services directly by owning, operating and maintaining the assets, and employing all staff.

Under that plan, Council will be fully responsible for the efficient operation and growth of the exciting new development and in its future.

That decision will be up for review in 12 months time.

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