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Agreement on local government represents real progress

31 March, 2008

Sinn Féin South Belfast MLA Alex Maskey has said that agreement on power-sharing and how councils operate, what services they deliver and how they deliver for rate payers represents real progress.

Mr Maskey said:

"The level of agreement reached represents a real advance, particularly on how local councils are governed in the future, including the protection of minority communities. Still today in some local councils, such as Lisburn and Coleraine, unionists operate the politics of exclusion. We now have an opportunity to bring this to an end.

There will be;

  • A reduction in bureaucracy in cutting councils from 26 to 11,
  • Community involvement in decision making through Community Planning,
  • Joined up government between local and central government,
  • Legal protections for minorities,
  • An end to the politics of exclusion through power-sharing.

"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.

"It is on this basis Sinn Féin have agreed to proceed to the next stage of the RPA process and we look forward to agreeing the legislation which will give effect to these protections." ENDS

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