Magherafelt council freeze rates as Willie Frazer is ‘frozen out’

Magherafelt council offices
Magherafelt council offices

THE good news for ratepayers in Magherafelt District Council area is that their rates bill will remain the same as last year.

Members struck a domestic and non domestic District Rate of 0 per cent.

There was no comment made in the council chamber when the estimates were passed apart from the DUP’s Paul McLean who said he wanted his remarks (made at a previous meeting) that he was not happy recorded.

In a statement, the SDLP group welcomed the decision to hold the rates at the current level.

Councillor Jim Campbell said it was the first time in his eight years as a councillor that the rates had remained static and “it is welcome news for everyone.”

He said the Council management team and staff are to be congratulated on the tight financial and fiscal management displayed in what will be the last rate striking exercise undertaken by Magherafelt District Council as the new Mid Ulster Council will assume this responsibility in future years.

“There are some uncertainties as to how this will pan out but it will be vital, nevertheless, that high standards of service continue to be delivered and value for money achieved through efficient and effective control of expenditure,” he added.

Victims’ campaigner Willie Frazer attempted to gate crash proceedings on Tuesday night when he and a small group of loyalists, turned up to protest about a plaque in a memory of two murdered Sinn Fein councillors in the reception area.

“The ordinary people are not allowed through the door,” he said. “It’s a disgrace.”

The plaque he wants removed was put up for Councillors Bernard O’Hagan and John Joe Davey.

This weekend Sinn Fein is planning a special event commemorating the 25th anniversary of Mr Davey’s murder.

There is another plaque in the reception in memory of all the victims of the Troubles in the Magherafelt district. Frazer handed in a protest letter at the door. and said he would be raising the matter with the Equality Commission and Victims’ Commissioner.