Good Relations facing cash cut

Mid & East Antrim Borough Council. (Editorial Image).
Mid & East Antrim Borough Council. (Editorial Image).

News that Mid & East Antrim Council’s ‘Good Relations’ Programme is facing a cash cut is “alarming”, Councillor Paul Reid has said.

His comment came at M&EA Council’s Community Planning Committee meeting, when members were informed that OFMDFM was offering Council just 50% of the total salaries and admin. costs and £45k towards programme costs.

Cr Reid said: “We are horrified at this. This will affect many groups in Mid & East Antrim that are depending on our help”.

Good Relations is a legal requirement that places an onus on public bodies to ‘promote positive relationships between persons of different religious belief, political opinion and racial group’ with community groups and individuals encouraged to get involved.

Council’s Change Manager Louise Kennedy said the consequences of a reduction to funding could be “quite significant”.

She said, however, that Council should “still be able to honour what we have committed to” under the Good Relations Grants Scheme but that Council would have to revisit the Action Plan.

The committee went on to approve a recommendation that Council’s CEO signs the Letter of Offer from OFMDFM subject to ratification by full Council, that officers submit a revised Action Plan and work on the programme taking cognisance of the reduced offer, and that the CEO outlines in writing Council’s “genuine frustration and real concern”.