Mid and East Antrim councillors ‘not told of Foster visit’

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The UUP’s Maureen Morrow has complained that some councillors were not informed of First Minister Arlene Foster’s visit to Larne.

Alderman Morrow expressed her disappointment that not all councillors had been invited to meet Mrs Foster, and said that she herself had been unaware of the visit.

On Thursday November 28, Mrs Foster visited Larne’s Moyle Primary School before travelling to the town hall, where she met with communtiy representatives and traders.

DUP Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Councillor Billy Ashe said that during Mrs Foster’s trip to Larne he had invited her to meet with the council to discuss a number of issues, and that manufacturing would be “top of the agenda”.

“Hopefully, that will happen in the near future,” he said.

In response to Alderman Maureen Morrow’s comments, Cllr Ashe replied: “All I can say to you is that I was only a guest as well”.

Cllr Paul Maguire (Sinn Fein) suggested that an invitation should also be extended to the Deputy First Minister.

However, Cllr Stephen Nicholl said council had “to be realistic” in the run up to the forthcoming elections and that it was unlikely both would come to the borough.

Cllr Ashe told members that an invitation had been extended to new Finance Minister Mervyn Storey to meet with council on issues including the rate base, new finance regulations and corporation tax.

He suggested that an invitation should also be extended to the new DSD Minister, Lord Morrow.

Cllr Stephen Nicholl then suggested the DETI minister should be invited to meet with council to discuss job losses in the borough.

However, neither of these motions was formally proposed.