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SDLP accused of calling it wrong on 7 council model

14 December, 2005

Sinn Féin Agriculture and Rural Development Spokesperson, Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew has lambasted the SDLP for calling it wrong over the proposed 7 council model.

Ms Gildernew said:

"The debate about the proposed 7 council model has been characterised by a lot of hogwash. The reality is that the public see that the only politicians that want 15 councils are those that are looking after their own jobs.

"This is turning into a debate between self-serving politicians who want to protect their little fiefdoms and the public at large who are more interested in effective local government that can deliver top quality local services, good value for money for the ratepayer and influence the way the decisions are taken and implemented by central government departments.

"The truth is that the 7 council model with the area based committees proposed by Sinn Féin will connect rural communities in a much stronger way to local government. In particular bigger stronger councils with more direct input into planning will have huge benefits for rural communities.

"The choice is simple - is local government about self serving politicians or is it about local communities."

Responding to comments from the SDLP's PJ Bradley Ms Gildernew said:

"The SDLP seem to have lost the ability to make good judgements. They called it wrong on policing and are now failing to do anything about political policing despite the fact that many within the SDLP in PJ Bradley's South Down openly say that no nationalist would be involved with the PSNI. They have called it wrong on the 7 council model and appear happy to follow the unionist line. Unionists oppose 7 because it gives stronger equality protections, power sharing with a more equal share of power for nationalists. The SDLP appear to want to sell out vulbnerable nationalist communities in favour of keeping their own councillors in a job." ENDS

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