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Review of UDR Greenfinches motion will cost Council ‘thousands in legal fees’

Glenn Barr Greenfinches motion

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council has confirmed the decision to support a motion calling for the local authority to explore creating “a lasting tribute” to the women of the Ulster Defence Regiment is to be reviewed.

The motion, which was brought forward by Alderman Glenn Barr at January’s meeting of the council called for recognition of the “significant” role the women of the UDR, who were known as ‘Greenfinches’, played in the “defeat of terrorism in Northern Ireland”.

Alderman Barr’s motion was seconded by his UUP party colleague, Alderman Ian Burns and supported by the other UUP members in the chamber, the Alliance Party and the DUP. The SDLP and Sinn Fein opposed the motion.

Now, a spokesperson for the council has confirmed the decision reached is to be reviewed with a valid call-in request.

“Members have been notified that a call in has been received following the Council’s decision at its meeting held on January 30, 2023 in relation to a notice of motion asking Council to explore a lasting tribute to the Greenfinches of the Ulster Defence Regiment CGC,” said the spokesperson.

“The process for call-in is set out in Section 41 of the Local Government Act (NI) 2014.

“The consideration of any call-in is a confidential matter for the Council. Therefore, we are not in a position to comment further at this time.”

The Act states Council’s standing orders “must make provision requiring reconsideration of a decision if 15 per cent of the members of the council (rounded up to the next highest whole number if necessary) present to the clerk of the council a requisition on either or both of the following grounds.

“That the decision was not arrived at after a proper consideration of the facts and issues” and/or “that the decision would disproportionately affect adversely any section of the inhabitants of the district”.

It also states that standing orders must “require the clerk of the council to obtain an opinion from a practising barrister or solicitor before reconsideration of a decision on a requisition made wholly or partly” on the grounds it would adversely affect any section of the inhabitants of the district.

Speaking following confirmation of the call-in, Alderman Barr said he was disappointed the council will now have to spend thousands in legal fees but said he was confident that everything was “legally in order”.

“I am disappointed that in a cost of living crisis, the motion to honour the Greenfinches of the UDR CGC has been called-in,” he said.

“This will cost Council thousands in legal fees. Council passed my motion, which was seconded by Alderman Ian Burns to recognise the significant contribution that women have made and continue to make in the defence of our nation.

“Council has signed up to the Armed Forces Community Covenant, whilst I am disappointed, I am confident that everything is legally in order. It is such a shame that this will cost the ratepayers of ABC Council thousands.”

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