Support your local council - up north! - Political Quote

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Monday, December 4, 2006

Support your local council - up north!

Northern Ireland currently has 26 councils but under a Review of Public Administration undertaken by the British Government that is set to be slashed to just seven super councils with increased powers. This will come into effect inn 2009.

I think it is shameful that the UK is to reduce Northern Ireland's local authorities to seven "super" councils. The only thing "super" about these councils will be there massive increase in bureaucracy and the distance between them and the people, local issues and concerns they supposed to deal with.

Worse again there does not seem to be a great deal of opposition to this plan from the political parties of the six counties.

We in Westport are twinned with Limavady, one of the 26 councils that will now disappear up into what will be called "North-West Local Government District," (the name just trips of the tongue doesn't it).

Those from Limavady that I have spoken to are upset because they will be losing their Mayor and their council chamber as everything de-camps to Derry. This is not local government. This is regional government.

It would be the same as if Westport were to come under the administration of Galway. Swallowed up by a bigger neighbour who will be more concerned with their own troubles than the local issues.

Whatever the faults of local government are, and there are many, the solution is not to remove it even further from the communities it is supposed to serve and represent. The way to make local government more effective is to decentralise real power to it. Decisions need to be made at as local a level as possible.

It is ironic that as the UK and Ireland try to increase democracy and participation in the North and as they are setting up a six-county power-sharing body, at the same time, they are strangling local government.

Who will cry "Stop!"

1 comment:

chelle said...
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