Portadown adviser strikes after confidential information leaked in meeting

A Portadown adviser has called the decision by one of his Lurgan counterparts to leak confidential information at a public meeting ‘reckless and irresponsible’.

DUP representative Darryn Causby made the remarks in response to Alliance Councilor Peter Lavery’s decision to reveal council officers’ estimate that continuing to meet in a remote/hybrid format could allow the council to save £50,000 a year at the monthly council meeting on Monday 24 January.

This information was provided to councilors at a closed meeting regarding rate estimates and was included in a report marked confidential.

During a debate on the local authority’s response to a consultation from the Department of Communities on the possibility of permanently allowing meetings to take place in a remote/hybrid environment, Cllr Causby called on elected officials to “do the effort” to attend the council chambers in person for the establishment of borough rates.

“Perhaps in February when we set the tariffs, everyone could make the effort, when the restrictions are lifted, to sit in this chamber as we are all elected to do,” he said. declared.

This prompted Cllr Lavery to note that continuing remote and hybrid meetings can serve to reduce rates.

“If it comes to rates, it is expected that if we continue with hybrid and remote meetings we will save £50,000 a year,” said Cllr Lavery.

“It’s taxpayers’ money that stays in taxpayers’ pockets. I think the savings we bank in the future in a hybrid way will be welcomed by taxpayers. »

When Cllr Causby asked where the £50,000 figure came from, Cllr Lavery said it was in the estimate document, at which point Cllr Causby noted that the document was marked confidential and criticized Cllr Lavery for divulging the figure.

“The one marked confidential?” Are we now members of it, we’re supposed to be reasonable here, but that casually throws confidential numbers,’ Cllr Causby said.

“Am I glad the taxpayers know what we’re spending our money on, yes, but the fact is the report is confidential and shouldn’t have been discussed in that way.

“It is reckless and irresponsible of Cllr Lavery. We know he has the form for it in the Planning Committee and in this House and here is another example of that tonight.

“It’s absolutely shameful.”

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