Fearghal Shiels of Madden & Finucane, said in relation to the decision of the Local Government Auditor on 24 October, 2005 in which he found 12 Sinn Féin elected representatives guilty of wilful misconduct for refusing victim’s group FAIR access to Newtownhamilton Community Centre:

“We confirm we have today lodged an appeal on behalf of twelve current and former Sinn Féin councillors on Newry & Mourne District Council, challenging the finding of the Local Government Auditor that our clients have been guilty of wilful misconduct. There are a number of procedural deficiencies in the investigation conducted by the Auditor which have effectively denied our clients a fair hearing in this matter. It is noteworthy that the Government condemned the surcharge system which the Auditor seeks to impose as archaic and it has been abolished in England and Wales”