The Northern Ireland Audit Office representative presented the above report, a copy of which had been previously circulated to Members. She advised that the purpose of the report was to provide Members with an update on the work carried out by the Northern Ireland Audit Office in relation to the expenditure incurred on the European Capital of Culture bid.
In response to questioning from Councillor Gallagher, the Northern Ireland Audit Office representative explained that whilst the review of the European Capital of Culture bid had examined comprehensively how the process had been carried out, it had not specifically examined the areas detailed within the Local Government Act Part 12. She advised that the outcome of their examination of the process had considered that he expenditure incurred was reasonable. She also advised that as far as she could recall, expenditure on the European Capital of Culture bid had been very limited after November 2018.
Councillor Gallagher expressed concern at the ramifications of the loss of the £175,000 spent by Council on the bid. He stated that he felt the bid should have been scoped against the Local Government Act part 12.
Alderman McClintock thanked the Northern Ireland Audit Office representative for her work on the report. She stated that she felt the points observed by Councillor Gallagher were electioneering.
Councillor Reilly also thanked the Northern Ireland Audit Office representative for her report. He stated that Councillor Gallagher had not voted against the City’s bid for the European Capital of Culture and highlighted that several other cities had been left in the same situation of not being eligible for the title as Derry City and Strabane District Council. He commented on the secondary benefits the preparation work for the bid had provided to the District, such as the working relationships which had been formed with Belfast City Council.
Councillor Donnelly recalled that Councillor Gallagher had raised a motion within Councils to stop spend on the European Capital of Culture bid and that this motion was voted down. He concurred with Councillor Gallagher’s
concern that Council had spent £175,000 on the failed bid.
Recommended that Council notes the content of the report.
The Deputy Chair noted that this was the last meeting of the Committee before the Local Government Elections and thanked the Chair, Officers and Members for their efforts. These comments were relayed by Aldermen M Hamilton and Thompson and Councillors Reilly, Hastings and Gallagher.