Northern Ireland news

Policing Board requests Causeway Coast and Glens council report

Independent councillor Padraig McShane
Connla Young

THE Policing Board has requested a copy of a council report linked to funding at Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.

A spokeswoman for the powerful oversight body last night confirmed it wants access to the report, which has not been made public.

A spokeswoman for the Policing Board last night confirmed: "The board has asked for a copy of the report from Causeway Coast and Glens council."

The development comes after The Irish News revealed that the Department of Justice (DoJ), which is headed by Alliance leader Naomi Long, has also requested information from the council, which is at the centre of a funding controversy.

Earlier this month The Irish News revealed that mobile phones belonging to DUP Causeway Coast and Glens councillor George Duddy and his former election agent Leanne Abernethy have been seized by the PSNI.

Both are members of the Causeway Coast and Glens Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP).

A third mobile phone has also been seized.

Independent councillor Padraig McShane later said the investigation is linked to funding at the council.

He also said that DoJ officials have requested the council report, which was compiled by an independent accountancy firm.

The councillor claims that the report highlights conflicts of interest linked to the district's PCSP and that it has been recommended that it be brought to the attention of the DoJ.

Both the Policing Board and DoJ have a "joint committee" which "provides funding to each council for the establishment and running of PCSPs".

Mr McShane last night said: "It is important that the minister is not allowed to view this document in isolation but is furnished with additional evidence that supports why this document was withheld.

"There are many other aspects of local government in Causeway Coast and Glens which I believe will be of particular interest to the justice department."

The DUP has made no response in relation to the seizure of the Mr Duddy and Ms Abernethy's phones.

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council was contacted but did not respond.

Meanwhile, Mr McShane has also claimed that the Paramilitary Crime Task Force is investigating "issues pertaining" to Causeway Coast and Glens council.

The Paramilitary Crime Task Force (PCTF) involves PSNI, the National Crime Agency and Revenue and Customs officials.

Northern Ireland news