Backlash over MEA civic insignia plans

Carrickfergus Borough Council's Mayor's Chain. INCT-04-700-con
Carrickfergus Borough Council's Mayor's Chain. INCT-04-700-con

Mid and East Antrim council’s decision to source new chains of office despite already having chains worth £170,500 has been criticised.

The decision was made by Mid and East Antrim’s Policy and Resources Committee, who hope that the new chains will be donated by a sponsor or benefactor.

While Larne, Carrick and Ballymena councils each already possess their own Mayor’s, Deputy Mayor’s and Mayoress’ chains, the new supercouncil will have its own coat of arms.

The Policy and Resources committee have voted to source chains of office depicting the new Mid and East Antrim coat of arms, and have asked the Chief Executive to prepare a business case.

In the interim, the newly-elected Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of Mid and East Antrim Council will select an existing chain of office for use. The chains not in use will be placed on display in museums or in civic buildings around the borough.

Larne’s nine carat gold Mayor’s chain is worth £40,000 while the gold Carrickfergus chain is worth £25,000. Ballymena’s silver gilt chain is worth £15,000. Its silver Deputy Mayor’s Chain is worth £12,000 while the Mayoress’ silver gilt chain is worth £7000.

In addition, the Larne Deputy Mayor’s silver gilt chain is worth £11,500 and the Mayoress’ nine carat gold chain is worth £10,000.

The Deputy Mayor for Carrickfergus’s chain is worth approximately £25,000 while the the value of the mayoress’ chain is also approximately £25,000.

Social media users voiced their disapproval at the decision to source new chains.

Facebook user Mark Johnston commented: “Are new chains really needed? Looking at the values above there is no way new chains should be bought.”

Jonathan Brown responded: “Dont be surprised if the new chains cost £100,000, I won’t yet folk in the borough are still attending food banks their idiocy knows no bounds”.

While new chains of office are to be sourced, the supercouncil will continue to use the ceremonial maces and swords of the predecessor Councils.

The condition of 60 red velvet ceremonial robes worn by the Mayors, Aldermen and Councillors of the three predecessor Councils is to be reviewed this month. While those in the best condition could be reused for the new Council, others may be put on public display. Members’ proposals will be considered at the February Policy and Resources committee meeting.