The Lead Finance Officer presented the above report, a copy of which had been previously circulated to Members. He advised that the purpose of the report was to provide Members with an update in relation to the North West Air Access Consortium funding.
Councillor Gallagher referred to the North West Air Access Consortium fund and queried who was responsible for the allocation of money from the fund and if any Elected Representatives had formed part of the Consortium. He further stated that the Assurance, Audit and Risk Committee was responsible for scrutiny and querying decisions and if this Committee was unaware of such matters then assurances could not be given regarding oversight.
In response, the Chief Executive stated that the matter had been raised on a number of occasions and clarification had been provided. He reiterated that a board did not exist and that the fund was a sum of money contributed to by the former Derry City Council, Donegal County Council and other public bodies. He stated that the fund existed to actively support the marketing of inbound visitor traffic through the airport. He reported that the fund had been recently drawn upon to provide marketing support for the new Loganair route to Glasgow from City of Derry Airport. He stated that the request was submitted and approved by the Business and Culture Committee with subsequent ratification by Council in the latter part of 2018 and that there was a remaining balance of £232,745 in the fund. He further stated that any further requests from CODA would be presented to the Business and Culture Committee who would provide oversight as recommended.
Councillor Gallagher stated that the Assurance, Audit and Risk Committee had not shown an oversight regarding the £75,000 requested for marketing support, therefore the Committee were unable to make any decision on the matter. He expressed concern that the fund could have been used to support previous funding requests from CoDA rather than using ratepayer’s money. He added that this Committee should have entire oversight on such matters as shown by Council’s performance indicators.
The Chair reiterated that the funding was provided by the former Derry City Council, Donegal County Council and other public bodies to actively support the marketing of inbound visitor traffic through the City of Derry Airport.
The Chief Executive outlined that full disclosure of the fund was available in Council’s Financial Statements. He further stated Members were responsible for allocating the funds. He advised that if Members decided to take an alternative view on the use of that funding, other sources must be consulted.
Councillor McGinley stated that the report and the comments from the Chief Executive had provided clarification on the matter. He further stated that Council has a responsibility to provide statements of accounts on an annual basis and the details of the accounts had provided clear reference to the North West Air Access Consortium. He suggested that Councillor Gallagher study Council’s statement of accounts in more detail as the report had provided a clear explanation regarding the North West Air Action Consortium.
Recommended that Council note the contents of the report.