UUP veteran Jim Rodgers to face hearing over complaint

Jim Rodgers
Jim Rodgers

The Local Government Commissioner for Standards in Northern Ireland has announced it will hold a hearing into a complaint against veteran Belfast UUP councillor Jim Rodgers.

Marie Anderson’s office made the announcement on Friday in a tweet.

The tweet came while a meeting of a Belfast City Council committee at which Mr Rodgers was scheduled to face a motion of no confidence was ongoing. Mr Rodgers chairs the strategic policy and resources committee.

Alliance Party councillor Michael Long is set to propose the motion.

He has claimed that during a period of tension in July over bonfires in east Belfast that Mr Rodgers made “negative comments” in the media about council staff.

Mr Long has additionally expressed concerns over the number of special meetings of the committee that were called in that period, claiming the number of meetings caused delays which made it “increasingly difficult to get decisions around controversial issues taken”.

On Thursday, Mr Rodgers responded to the Press Association’s request for a response by saying he does not feel it would be appropriate for him to comment.

The meeting of the strategic policy and resources committee started at 9.30am on Friday. The motion of no confidence is the final item on the agenda.

While the meeting was ongoing, the office of the Local Government Commissioner for Standards NI tweeted that an adjudication hearing will be held into a complaint concerning Mr Rodgers.

“The Commissioner has announced her intention to hold an Adjudication Hearing into a complaint that Alderman Jim Rodgers (Belfast City Council) breached the code in relation to the rule regarding the registration, disclosure and declaration of interests.”

A spokesman for the commissioner confirmed it had received a complaint about Mr Rodgers but could not give any further detail.

There were rows over the height of a bonfire on the Bloomfield Walkway site in the run-up to July 11, when pyres across Northern Ireland are traditionally lit.

Belfast City Council took a high court action against the Department for Infrastructure, which owns the land, to compel it to remove the pyre.

However, amid tense scenes, bonfire builders set it alight before police and contractors could move in to remove it.

Later, another bonfire at nearby Cluan Place was removed by contractors with police protection.

Mr Rodgers has been elected to Belfast City Council since 1993 and has served as Lord Mayor twice.