councils delay has gone to Poots

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By now we should be well down the road for reorganisation of the local district councils in Northern Ireland from the 26 current district councils to the 11 council model. Sadly for some, though better for actual local democracy and relation of councillor to constituent, this has not happened.

According to the BBC, Northern Ireland’s Minister for the Environment, Edwin Poots, of the DUP, said that he

remained committed to reforming local government

Committed to reforming local government he may be, but not committed to bringing forward the legislation necessary to enable this to be done. For Mr Poots has failed to bring the Final Report of the Local Government Boundary Commission to the NI Assembly for final approval. Last November, we were still waiting, and we are still waiting today.

And today the Minister has decided to pull the plug on the funding for the Transition Committees. Whilst I have no problem in doing this, there is no point in them existing if we are not going to move to the eleven council model, we need to remember that it is not the Executive’s fault – nor the Assembly’s: it is the Minister’s fault himself. He is responsible for steering the requisite legislation through the NI Assembly. He has not even allowed the Final Recommendations of Dick Mackenzie to be approved – though this would appear to have something more to do with the actual boundaries between Belfast City Council area and the Lisburn City and Castlereagh merged council area.

cross posted from Gyronny Herald.

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