Environment Minister visits Newry, Mourne and Down Statutory Transition Committee
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has continued his series of meetings with the key council groups driving local government reform.
Mark H Durkan said, “The STCs are playing a critical role in helping to drive local government reform and prepare for the new 11 councils which will come into being in shadow form after the elections in May.
“This reform programme is a partnership between local and central government and the meeting provided a beneficial opportunity for us to discuss progress and exchange information.
“Going forward, I will support the changing role of the two existing councils and provide them with a robust and comprehensive legislative and operational framework so that the newly created Newry, Mourne and Down District Council is open for business in April 2015.
He added, “It’s now less than 450 days until that date, and I have been and continue to visit all the STCs to ensure that this critical transition work is moving at a pace towards delivery – delivery of a more effective, efficient, citizen centred and responsive system of local government.”
The Minister heard of the progress of the Committee and addressed issues on topics including the roles and responsibilities of the new councils during the shadow period, rates convergence, community planning and the transfer of the planning functions.
STC Chair, Councillor Michael Ruane said, “We welcome the visit of the Minister. It reinforces the importance of our work in establishing a new Council to serve the people and the communities of Newry, Mourne and Down.
He added, “We recognise there are a number of important issues still to be resolved, in particular minimising the financial burden upon ratepayers, but we look forward to the Minister outlining how these will be addressed over the coming months.”
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