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Latest News | Nuacht

Ballymena Council Finally Awards Grant Money 04 November 2004

After a Council meeting on Monday, BBC finally agreed to award the £400 grant to the club towards costs of purchasing Hurling Sticks.

Article from Belfast Telegraph - 3 Nov 2004

Council agrees to give GAA club cash

By Nevin Farrell

03 November 2004
Ballymena DUP councillors split ranks as the council agreed to accept legal advice which said they should pay out a frozen £400 grant to a GAA club.

Sixteen councillors, including SDLP, Ulster Unionist and four DUP members, agreed to accept the lawyers' opinion which said that Clooney Gaels near Ahoghill should get the grant to buy hurling sticks.

Four DUP councillors, including former Irish rugby star Davy Tweed, voted against the decision, saying the GAA was discriminatory and a number of other DUP councillors abstained.

Independent Unionist councillor Willie Wright reminded his colleagues that if the council rejected the legal opinion they faced being surcharged and the DUP councillors who supported the paying of the grant said they did so because they had to accept the legal position.

Town Clerk Mervyn Rankin said the legal advice was similar to what he had advised of earlier in the year, when the row broke, which was that the council should pay the money to Clooney Gaels and that any change to their grants policy should be considered later if they so wished.

When they initially asked for the grant to be put on hold the DUP said they wanted clarification because they said the GAA rules discriminate against British firms as the rules insist that trophies and gear have to be bought in Ireland.

Mr Tweed said the GAA should "step back and have a look at themselves" regarding how they are viewed in the unionist community.

Declan O'Loan of the SDLP said he was glad to see the grant being paid but said the council had "created artificial, political, obstacles. It was a disgrace."

He said Ballymena Council had received "very bad publicity" over the affair.

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