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McAllister: Latest financial carve up will not go unchallenged

Alliance Councillor Nuala McAllister has accused the DUP and Sinn Féin of again manipulating the funding process in Belfast City Council to suit their own agendas.

Nuala was speaking after the two parties worked together behind closed doors to determine how an additional £95,000 in arts funding should be spent - money that was originally intended to be allocated through fair process.

She said: "This was nothing more than the latest carve up between two parties who don't care about the impact on our arts sector, but rather how groups they champion can benefit financially.

"We cannot continue to operate on a one for me, one for you basis. To do so only lets our arts community continue to be used as a political football - a sector we should be promoting and growing as much as possible.

"But this is an all too familiar story at City Hall, with the DUP and Sinn Féin consistently working together to concoct strategies and carve up public money. And while Alliance was going to support the amount of money already allocated to well-known festivals, despite our disagreement over how it was allocated, the last minute additional of a proposal set to penalise groups throughout this city cannot be tolerated.

"Alliance will be ensuring that next year this is an open and transparent process, with a clear criteria for allocating funds fairly, ensuring our most popular festivals are supported, but that additional groups also have a chance to grow into successful events in their own right."