Complaints probe against council chief Anne Donaghy cost £1,400

Anne Donaghy, chief executive of Mid and East Antrim council
Brendan Hughes

A COMPLAINTS probe against a council chief executive which she is refusing to comply with, cost ratepayers £1,400.

Anne Donaghy, chief executive of Mid and East Antrim council, has refused to say sorry despite an independent report recommending she apologise for risking "reputational damage" to an Irish language group.

Conradh na Gaeilge (CnaG) had made a formal complaint following inaccurate comments Ms Donaghy made at a council meeting earlier this year.

It strongly rejected claims by Ms Donaghy that she had contacted CnaG and arranged a meeting but it had failed to turn up.

A complaints report found Ms Donaghy's remarks misrepresented CnaG, negatively impacted on the council discussion and "had the potential to cause reputational damage to CnaG".

It recommended that Ms Donaghy "read out a statement at a public council meeting" to acknowledge her comments "may have inadvertently misled council and that she apologises to council and to Conradh na Gaeilge".

However, Ms Donaghy has not issued a public apology and has told CnaG she does not intend to do so.

She sent CnaG the report and a letter in which she acknowledged she may have inadvertently misled councillors and caused unintended reputational damage.

The council has since confirmed the report cost £1,400.

Two councillors, Sinn Féin's Patrice Hardy and the SDLP's Declan O'Loan, are to make a formal complaint over Ms Donaghy not adhering to the report recommendations.

Ms Hardy said: "Any cost stems solely from the failure to adhere to the outcome of the initial complaint.

"People have the right to expect that complaints which are upheld will be acted upon. I hope that council now learns from this to prevent any repeat in the future."

Mid and East Antrim council said the matter has been "dealt with in line with council policy".

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