Fiddlers, magicians and harpists at "extravagant" mayor's dinner
MAGICIANS, harpists and fiddlers who entertained at a town mayor's community dinner have been branded an "extravagant spectacle" and a "waste of money" by councillors.
The cost of the annual Gorseinon Town Council event, which is believed to run to thousands of pounds, will be discussed in private at its monthly meeting tonight.
But Plaid councillors, who attacked the expense, are calling for it to be considered in public and will put forward a motion at the meeting.
Councillor Darren Thomas said: "As an attendee at this event, I couldn't believe the spectacle of the whole thing. A few flowers and a simple meal is traditional at this event, which is usually held at the New Lodge. Ceramic dragons, poets and magic shows at the Canolfan Centre is altogether something else."
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Guests at the dinner, which was held on April 30, included the town mayor, mayors of neighbouring community councils, the Lord Mayor of Swansea, Gorseinon town councillors and other invited guests.
Councillor Jim Dunckley said he thought it was irresponsible of the council to exclude the public from the discussions about the event.
He added: "It's unbelievable that when the town council voted to cut funding for local charities and the children's summer play scheme, that money has been spent on magicians, harpists and fiddlers at this event.
"It's an extravagant waste of public money. And it's even more unbelievable that the town council is attempting to deny the public the opportunity to hold the council to account for this irresponsible behaviour. It shows total contempt for the democratic process."
The call for transparency has also been backed by Plaid AM Dai Lloyd, who said: "At a time when public finances are being stretched and all tiers of government are being asked to tighten their belts by this Con-Dem UK Government, I find it incredible that a town council can spend significant sums of money on such an event.
"Surely the priority for town councils at this time should be to fund worthwhile community events and projects, and in particular, funding activities for children and the most vulnerable in our society. Lavish dinners for a select few paid for by the general taxpayer should not be a priority."
Gorseinon Town Council's clerk John Millard said matters were discussed in private if they were of a personal, confidential or financial nature. He added that this was of a personal and financial nature for the venue used for the meal — the Canolfan Centre.
Town mayor Victor Bruno said the council had followed protocol. He would not comment on the claims that the dinner was extravagant and a waste of money.