Sinn Féin - On Your Side

No arguments offered in debate on 7 Council model

5 December, 2006


Sinn Féin Spokesperson on the Review of Public Administration, Alex Maskey has said that political parties opposed to the 7 council model have failed to produce any evidence of note to support their position and said that all parties need to commit themselves to strong and effective local government underpinned by power-sharing, equality and social inclusion.

Speaking after the debate Mr Maskey said:

"All we heard today from the other political parties was an irrational obsession with the number of 15. None who oppose 7 in favour of 15 have told anyone councils they want to retain or abolish.
"Sinn Féin wants a system of strong and effective local government underpinned by power-sharing, equality and social inclusion.

"Out of all the models that have been put forward - the 7C model is the only one that delivers a fair rates base and the only one that will protect all minorities.

"What people want to know is whether they will have efficient services, what will happen to their rates and will their rights be protected?

"This is why many bodies from teachers to pensioners; from business leaders to farmers; from across the community and voluntary sector to environmentalists - people who have no interest in the preservation of councillors but who want good and effective government prefer fewer councils.

"Many of them are more concerned that the obsession of some politicians with the number of councillors has meant that we have not had the focus on issues such as the Community Planning Process and putting it on a statutory footing that allows people to have a real say in local government.

"While Sinn Fein may have lost the vote in the Assembly today, I believe that without doubt we have won the argument." ENDS

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