ARDS and North Down Council will not be erecting a giant TV screen anywhere in the borough to show the coronation in May because of the cost.

Members of the council’s Community and Wellbeing Committee were informed that the Northern Ireland Office was offering grants to pay for screenings of the royal event on May 6, but that due to the ‘prohibitive’ costs of the equipment, it had no budget to pay for a big screen. 

The news comes as Assembly member Alex Easton criticised the council’s budget for community events to mark King Charles’ coronation.

Council official Jan Nixey, head of Community and Culture, told the March meeting of the committee that the NIO had offered the chief executives of the province’s councils the chance to bid for a grant to show the coronation concert and the coronation itself.

Explaining that the costs were high due to the screen hire for two days, infrastructure and marketing costs, she said: “Members will note that the budget for all community activities to mark King Charles’ coronation was £50,000 and this amount has been fully allocated by the council.

“Officers are aware that the budget available for all Northern Ireland councils is £45,000 and at least three councils have included the screening of the coronation in their programme of events and activities.

“Obviously, the more councils who bid for the funding the less funding will be available for each individual council. In addition, the screens would need to be hired for a minimum of three days. That would be set-up, testing, the coronation concert and coronation event which would increase the council’s cost to about £45,000,” she said.

“The availability of the screens and technicians at this late stage may also be problematic so I am noting that as members didn’t agree to include the screening in the agreed coronation programme and there’s no available budget for this cost, officers will not be bidding to the Northern Ireland Office for the funding.”

Councillor Tom Smyth said the government was ‘trying to make a big spin’ of the coronation but was providing inadequate funding to enable people to do so.

“I think the money that the government is making available is actually quite poor; it’s shocking,” he said.

“Had we the money, yes this is something we’d love to do but when we are talking here about funding for football and funding for other things today, I can’t see the justification for it,” he said, noting ‘it’s not great news’.

Assembly member Alex Easton branded the council ‘stingy and mean’ over the amount of funding put towards community groups to celebrate the coronation.

The independent MLA said he knew of many community groups which had been ‘deeply disappointed’ by the funding provided to celebrate the royal event.

“There are 60 community organisations and they will only get £500 to organise events and celebrations for thousands of residents,” he said.

“This is not nearly enough to even pay for a bouncy castle let alone anything else.

“The council are being extremely mean and stingy, and I would urge them to re-look at this as it’s important they make an effort for the local community and ensure there is adequate funding for the community to celebrate the coronation of our king.”




Alex Easton MLA branded council ‘stingy’.


Councillor Tom Smith says cost is too high.