Northern Ireland

NI councils spend almost £40K to mark royal wedding

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrive in Lisburn, County Antrim Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visited Northern Ireland earlier this year

Almost £40,000 has been spent by councils in Northern Ireland to mark the upcoming royal wedding.

Five councils told BBC News NI they had awarded money to community groups through their small grants scheme.

Lisburn and Castlereagh Council gave out 34 grants of £400, totalling £13,600.

Antrim and Newtownabbey Council said it would instead present commemorative coins to all P7 pupils in the borough, at a cost of £3,000.

The scheme's rules mean that community groups can only use the money for catering costs, venue hire, decorations and other materials directly related to the royal wedding party they are throwing.

Groups of individuals not eligible for grants were able to apply for royal wedding party packs containing Prince Harry and Meghan Markle flags, posters, bowler hats, tiaras and other decorations.

Ards and North Down Council said it awarded grants to 38 groups at a cost of £11,962, as well as 30 party packs worth £2,062 in total.

Image copyright Alexi Lubomirski
Image caption Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement last November

Mid and East Antrim Council received nine applications and awarded the groups £7,436, Mid Ulster Council gave out two grants totalling £1,290 and Fermanagh and Omagh Council gave £427 to the one group that applied for funding.

Three councils - Belfast City, Derry City and Strabane and Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon - said they were not aware of any groups having applied for funding for royal wedding celebrations from their small grants schemes.

Causeway Coast and Glens Council said it did not set up a fund for the wedding celebrations, while Newry, Mourne and Down Council said it could not provide a breakdown of funding applications it had received unless a Freedom of Information request was submitted.

The royal wedding takes place on Saturday 19 May at 12:00 BST at St George's Chapel in Windsor.

A number of people from Northern Ireland have been invited to attend.

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