Northern Ireland news

Judge tells Councillor Padraig McShane he must release 'recorded conversations' in hotel case within days

Padraig McShane is an independent member of Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council

A councillor who claims he recorded conversations with officials connected to legal action over a proposed £20m resort on the north coast must disclose the material within days, a High Court judge has ordered.

Deadlines were set for Padraig McShane to provide pen drives and transcripts following his dramatic intervention in the challenge to planning permission for the hotel and leisure complex near Portstewart, Co Derry.

Mr Justice McCloskey said: "Councillor McShane introduced this bolt from the blue almost three months ago... I don't think I can extend the indulgence of the court indefinitely towards the councillor."

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council had sought an order for any tapes connected to the proceedings to be handed over.

But lawyers representing Mr McShane indicated he is prepared to release the recordings.

Barrister David Scoffield confirmed today that a transcription agency is currently going through the material.

Once that process is completed Mr McShane intends to carry out checks for accuracy, the court heard.

TUV leader Jim Allister has brought the case against the council for giving the green light to the luxury accommodation facilities.

The North Antrim MLA, who has a home overlooking the development site, claims that decision was unlawful.

Plans include a 120-bedroom hotel, spa, holiday cottages, conference facilities and restaurant being built on the Ballyreagh Road, close to the North West 200 race route.

Mr McShane was a member of the council's planning committee which approved the proposed resort last year.

Claiming to have "hours" of recorded material, he has attempted to secure whistleblower status.

With legal arguments due to resume next month, Mr Justice McCloskey said he has remained "extremely patient" about issues over the recordings.

He also reiterated his sympathy for Mr McShane's position.

But he ordered that pen drives of the recordings are to be made available to all other parties by next Tuesday, and transcripts provided three days later.

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