Campbell accuses Donnelly of “talking out of both sides of his mouth” over Bogside back lane “surcharge” claim

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Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell accused Independent republican Gary Donnelly of “talking out of both sides of his mouth” when discussing a clean-up scheme for back lanes in the Bogside at the Derry City and Strabane District Council’s monthly meeting on Thursday.

Mr Campbell responded angrily to Councillor Donnelly, who raised questions about an approach to residents by members of Sinn Féin, who, he said, requested a £15 contribition towards the clean-up of laneways, the ownership of which is often in doubt.

Mr Donnelly told Council he had raised the state of laneways in the Bogside following a proposal to fund the clean-up of the War Memorial in the Diamond, which isn’t owned by Council.

Councillor Campbell declared an interest as a member of the TRIAX Neighbourhood Management Team and hit back at Councillor Donnelly saying the clean-up scheme was part of Tús Maith, a Housing Executive and Council-funded scheme that employs 12 people locally.

Mr Campbell said there was no surcharge, merely a request for a donation from those residents who were willing and able to pay.

“It is not a surcharge it is a donation,” he said.

Mr Campbell said the problem related to mews lanes throughout the Bogside and other parts of the city, the ownership of which, often lies with residents or is unknown.

He said it was an expense for Council to continue the clean-up and repair of fixtures and thoroughfares that it doesn’t own.

“Councillor Donnelly voted against the rates and now he wants to clean lanes that don’t belong to Council using ratepayers’ money,” said Mr Campbell.

“How much did it cost to clean up the Bonfire in the Bogside?”

Councillor Donnelly stated that Councillor Campbell’s name was on the clean-up scheme sheet proffered to residents.

Council Campbell accused Councillor Donnelly of “talking out of both sides of his mouth.”

Tús Maith is a scheme, which funds project workers to engage in high intensity estate management work and has been rolled out across the TRIAX area.