Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Sinn Fein holds community briefing on the RPA

31 May, 2006

South Belfast Sinn Fein MLA Alex Maskey this afternoon briefed community and residents groups from the constituency on the effects that the Review of Public Administration (RPA) will have upon their communities and the work that they are involved in.

Speaking after the meeting Cllr. Alex Maskey MLA said:

" Everybody accepts that the Review of Public Administration, whatever the finalised details are, will have a major effect on community groups, residents groups, and, indeed, residents themselves. Probably the most important issue in this respect is the subject of 'community planning'. There is, however, a real lack of knowledge about the specifics of this. We had been contacted by a number of groups in relation to this. We, therefore, decided to invite community and residents groups to a meeting which would
allow us to explain the potential effects of the RPA, our position on the RPA, and to address any concerns which people may have about the RPA.

" 'Community Planning', in essence, will be the designing of a grand plan, a community plan, for the city of Belfast. This will encompass almost everything that you can imagine from transport to housing, from the environment to community development. One of the real benefits will be that there will be an onus on statutory bodies and departments to work with the council. This means that departments will be obligated to work with the
council. This is the empowering of local government, the empowering of the local people elected by the people to work on their behalf.

" For us, however, this does not go far enough. We believe, and are continuing to argue for, a statutory duty to be placed on councils to work with local communities and residents. Such a move would put the citizen at the heart of local government and make sure that 'Community Planning' truly represents the needs of the community".

" Sinn Fein will be trying to facilitate as many groups as possiblewithin the constituency."

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