Local councillors welcome announcement on new council boundaries
The elected members of both councils recently met to discuss the creation of the new council arising from the planned amalgamation of Newry & Mourne District Council with Down District Council in 2015.
This followed confirmation last week that the boundaries of the new Council had now been established in law by the NI Assembly, as part of the wider Review of Public Administration (RPA). Under the RPA the number of Councils will be reduced from 26 to 11, with the new council being given additional powers and responsibilities.
Meeting as a Transition Committee, Councillors discussed some of the details associated with the establishment of the new Council, including the scale of the challenge that lies ahead, and the potential impacts that the change will have for local ratepayers, communities and staff. In a joint statement, the Joint Chairs of the Transition Committee welcomed the news from the NI Assembly, but called on more details to be provided.
Councillor Ruane said, “The RPA provides a golden opportunity to transform the lives of local people, but we also recognise that with any change comes the fear that local services and local jobs will be lost. We welcome the recent announcement on the new Council boundary but call on the NI Executive to provide more clarity on what is planned.”
Councillor Coogan said, “In particular, the specific package of new powers that will be given to us in 2015 and the essential funding that is required to ensure local ratepayers do not bear the financial burden. For too long there has been too much uncertainty for local ratepayers and local staff.”
The Councillors of both Councils recently appointed Councillor Michael Ruane from Newry & Mourne District Council and Councillor Michael Coogan from Down District Council as the Joint Chairs of the Transition Committee, which will oversee the preparations.
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