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Council decision a step towards greater transparency

Alliance Councillor Owen Gawith has welcomed the decision by Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council to appoint an independent member to the Audit and Governance Committee - a move pushed by Alliance for the second year running.

Proposed by Councillor Gawith, the decision is a step forward towards greater openness and transparency in how the Council spends public money and comes a year after a similar call from Alliance Councillor Amanda Grehan was blocked by the DUP.

Lisburn and Castlereagh is the only council not to have such a member, which is recommended by the NI Audit Office.

Councillor Grehan said: "After lobbying hard for over a year, I am pleased that we will soon have independent oversight on the Audit and Governance Committee. It is regrettable that yet again the DUP voted against this proposal. How we spend and account for public money should be transparent and open to full scrutiny. Why do these Councillors fear this scrutiny? This move will help to enhance public confidence in local government."

Councillor Gawith added: "As leader of the Alliance group on the Council I am pleased that, apart from the DUP, Councillors from both sides of the chamber supported this decision. We must now move to find and appoint a suitable candidate as soon as possible."