Public slam decision to buy ‘trinkets of vanity’

One of the potential pendant designs presented to members of the Corporate Services Committee.
One of the potential pendant designs presented to members of the Corporate Services Committee.

Local ratepayers have called on the council to rethink its decision to purchase ceremonial medals for past mayors.

The Star revealed last week how Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council has approved a potential spend of thousands of pounds on ‘mayoral jewels’ for outgoing mayors and former first citizens of the two legacy councils, although the latter will have to pay 50 per cent of the cost if they want one of the medals.

While the council stressed that it doesn’t yet know how many medals it will be purchasing, or what the final unit price will be, prices range from around £400 to more than £1,100 per medal.

Alderman Jim Dillon, who served as Mayor of Lisburn from 2000 to 2002, criticised the spend, describing it as “a complete waste of money” and “an absolute nonsense.”

There was a huge reaction to the story on the Ulster Star’s Facebook page, with many members of the public reacting angrily to the council’s decision.

Dozens of people branded the purchase “a waste of money”, while others described the move as “totally unnecessary.”

One local woman, Tracy Mearns, was so incensed by the council’s decision that she’s used social media to appeal to people to contact their local councillors asking them to rethink the purchase of the ‘sterling silver gilt jewels’.

She criticised those who proposed and supported the purchase of the mayoral medals, and those who failed to voice their opposition when the committee’s decision came before full council for ratification.

“In these times of such austerity and hardship I find this to be a disgraceful waste of ratepayers’ money on what are in my opinion just trinkets of vanity,” she posted on Facebook.

“We have families using foodbanks, children going hungry, people who are homeless, people who are suffering from domestic abuse, from addiction. Please use this money to help them. I urge you all not to agree with this shameful waste of money,” she added.