Local Government shake-up - progress on governance welcomed
Sinn Féin Assembly group leader John O'Dowd MLA has said that more important than the numbers of councils is the way they operate, what services they deliver and how they deliver for rate payers.
Mr O'Dowd said:
"Sinn Fein and the DUP have been involved in an intensive series of talks in an attempt to make progress on this issue.
"There have been those who have claimed that the Executive was deadlocked. Once again the durability of these institutions and the willingness of all the other parties to reach common positions has proven them wrong.
"Sinn Fein believe that a seven council model is best. The DUP and the other parties have previously advocated fifteen. On the single issue of numbers this is clearly a compromise position on all sides.
"But what is more important than the numbers of councils is the way they operate, what services they deliver and how they deliver for rate payers. It is critical that we get a system of local government which allows all sections of the community to participate and work together successfully.
"Significant progress, particularly on issues of local council governance in the future, including protections for minority communities has been made.
"On this basis Sinn Féin are happy that we are proceeding to the next stage of the RPA process and we look forward to agreeing the legislation which will give effect to the paper which was agreed at the Executive this afternoon." ENDS