Council apology over beacon

Beacon watchers were left in the dark in Limavady last week.

Beacon watchers were left in the dark in Limavady last week.

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Limavady Borough Council has apologised over the misunderstanding surrounding the lighting of a beacon to celebrate the Queen’s diamond jubilee.

Last Monday night, the beacon was scheduled to be lit at Gortmore View Point, where it’s reported around 100 people gathered to watch.

However, the crowd missed the event as the beacon was actually lit at Binevenagh Point instead. 

Council’s chief executive, Liam Flanigan was quizzed by unionists at the monthly meeting on Tuesday about what happened. 

Ulster Unionist Edwin Stevenson, who was among those who gathered, asked if Council would be prepared to light the beacon “so at least we could say, we’d got it lit and in the right place”.

Colr. Stevenson said among the comments he heard from those left disappointed was: “What else can we expect from Limavady Council? They can’t do anything right.” 

Mr. Flanigan said staff on the night placed the beacon in a higher position so more people could see it. 

“It was nothing deliberate. It was accidental on the night,” he said. “I can only apologise.” 

DUP Colr. Alan Robinson said he fielded a number of phone calls on the matter and claimed the perception in the community is “we are a bunch of absolute idiots”, “absolute buffoons”. 

SDLP Colr. Michael Coyle said he had every sympathy for those who attended at Gortmore. He said while it wasn’t part of his culture, he believed the beacon should be lit and, with that, some sort of gesture should be made, which he believed would go a long way. 

Mr. Flanigan said he was quite happy if Council was agreeable to the event being re-arranged. He added: “There are lessons that have been learnt and this will not happen again.” 

Ending the debate, DUP Colr. James McCorkell said what Colrs. Stevenson and Robinson had said was “mild” compared to the feeling out in the community. 

“That said, the Chief Executive has apologised,” he said, adding: “I think we as a civic body owe an apology to the people who were there and kept children up late. I agree we should light the beacon and, I agree with Colr. Coyle, we need something else as it is a one-off.”