Dungiven sports project: Sinn Féin may take legal action after fresh row

Image caption A number of local people, sport enthusiasts and politicians voiced their anger at a public meeting on Wednesday

Sinn Féin has said it may take legal action following a decision by some councillors at Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council not to proceed with plans for a sports and leisure project in Dungiven, County Londonderry.

A fresh row broke out at the council on Tuesday night after unionist councillors said there was a "considerable financial shortfall" in the proposal.

Sinn Féin councillors accused unionist politicians of "blocking the project".

The new project would cost £2.8m.

The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) said it was committed to funding £2.5m towards the project.

The remaining money needed to deliver the project totalled £339,000 and that had been approved by the regulator of the Landfill Community Fund but required council agreement.

Ulster Unionist councillor Daryll Wilson told BBC Radio Foyle that his party supported the project but would not agree to providing the "shortfall" unless it came from DCAL minister Carál Ní Chuilín.

Sinn Féin councillor Sean McGlinchey said unionist councillors had made a "sectarian decision".

The Sinn Féin minister Ms Ní Chuilín said she was "extremely disappointed".

A public meeting was held in Dungiven on Wednesday night. Ms Ní Chuilín did not attend.

Image caption Ryan O'Connor and his mother Donna attended the meeting in Dungiven's library

Members of the public, sport enthusiasts and politicians voiced their anger.

Ryan O'Connor, a double amputee from Dungiven and keen sportsman, said: "I'm very angry.

"I thought everything was getting the all clear. I was ready to get involved with the new facilities.

"There's no hope at the moment. Councillors are supposed to be helping the people. It's ridiculous."

Image caption Paul McCloskey is a former boxing champion from Dungiven

Paul McCloskey, a former British and European boxing champion, said: "It's an unbelievable shock.

"There's no real answers that make any sense as to why it's not going ahead at this stage. It's a disgrace."

One woman who lives in Dungiven said: "I'm very angry.

"Some of the councillors don't seem to care about Dungiven or what we get.

"They need to give our children what they deserve."

Sinn Fein MLA Cathal O hOisin said: "Councillors have a duty for the provision of sports services and facilities.

"If they are not fulfilling that duty then that needs to be addressed. In that case it needs addressed legally.

"We may have to look a judicial review. We will see in the coming weeks."

Image copyright Geograph/Kenneth Allen
Image caption The sports and leisure facilities are to be built in the Curragh Road area of Dungiven

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