View of the church of Santo Domingo de Guzmán, in Benalmádena pueblo. L. Cádiz
Should town hall pay for repairs to church clock from public funds?

Should town hall pay for repairs to church clock from public funds?

Controversy has arisen over a grant of more than 4,000 euros from the local council to the Diocese to fund repairs to the Santo Domingo de Guzmán clock in Benalmádena

Lorena Cádiz


Wednesday, 1 November 2023, 12:49


The church of Santo Domingo de Guzmán is the oldest in Benalmádena and one of the most iconic. It is situated in the Jardines del Muro, providing a viewpoint overlooking the bay at the foot of the town. Many tourists visit every day, interested in the white village that has not stopped growing, but equally preserves the essence of its original existence.

On the tower of this small church there is a clock in the bell tower which somehow works; you can hear the sound of chimes on the hour, but it does not show the correct time. Its hands stopped working a long time ago at five past one in the afternoon, or in the early morning, who knows, and the time has not changed since. Both the church and everything in the building is the property of the Diocese of Malaga, but it will be the Benalmádena town hall who will be responsible for repairing the clock. It will do so with a grant of 4,119 euros, which has sparked criticism from the PSOE and Izquierda Unida-Podemos political groups. The former speaks of an "outrage", the latter of possible "illegal behaviour".

The issue was recently debated in a motion presented to a plenary session by PSOE, and defended by its spokesperson and secretary general of the socialists in Benalmádena, Víctor Navas, who argued that there are several clocks in prominent areas of the municipality in need of repair which have not been taken into account by the local government. He gave the clock in the Plaza de la Mezquita as an example, the neuralgia centre in Arroyo de la Miel, the Blas Infante clock and the clock in the Plaza Mayor. He also mentioned that churches of other denominations also have repair issues. And again he gave examples: the evangelical church needs more space, the stupa (Buddhist building) has humidity problems and the mosque has accessibility problems.

For all these reasons, he said he did not understand why such a grant was being given to the Diocese of Malaga, which Navas said was an "insult", as well as a "waste" of public money, especially "when there are other priorities". "Have you tried to talk to them?" the socialist asked in the plenary session, denouncing the fact that instead of trying to get the Diocese to pay for the clock, the municipal council has offered the subsidy directly.

"It is an outrage," he said, and pointed out that his party is not against the clock's repair, but it is against the way it was done. And in any case, he said, "they could have sent a municipal worker to fix it, instead of spending more than 4,000 euros."

"Possible illegal behaviour"

The spokesperson for Izquierda Unida-Podemos, Enrique Pablo Centella, demanded that the approval of the grant be left on the table for everyone to see because of possible illegality. "The town council comes up with the budget, looks for someone to fix it and then gives it to another entity," denounced Centella, who said that the issue "cannot be the object of a direct grant." "In any case, there should have been a call for tender applications so that other individuals could also apply for the work," insisted the councillor, who left the plenary hall directly at the time of the vote so as not to be involved in this possible illegal behaviour, which, according to him, could have been committed.

However, the councillor for economy and finance, José Miguel Muriel, defended the situation, saying that the clock is part of "a cultural asset of the municipality" and highlighted the value of the Jardines del Muro, where the church is located. The subsidy was finally approved thanks to the absolute majority of the PP in the plenary, so the clock will now be fixed with public funds.





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