Byrne calls for greater devolution to local councils

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info@newrytimes.com
Monday, January 28th, 2019
Politics

Local Councillor Pete Byrne has reiterated his call for local Councils to be given greater responsibility in the absence of a Stormont Assembly, effectively giving more power to local people.

He made the comments following the meeting of the NILGA Central – Local Government Political Forum which reconvened last week.

 

 

Speaking to Newry Times, Byrne said, “I have spoken many times of the need for local Councils to have greater powers and I welcome the latest conversation facilitated by NILGA calling for great collaboration across central and local government on the delivery of services.

“I am pleased that the Chief Executive of NILGA, Derek McCallan recognises that Councils are setting a strong practical vision for their local areas.

“You only have to look that the success of the Slieve Gullion Forest Park or the progress made on the Albert Basin Park in Newry to see what’s possible,” he continued.

“This isn’t about a power grab, it is about recognising the potential local government has in triggering economic development tailored to each Council area.

 

 

“This effectively gives a real and authentic local voice to shaping what our local area offers and the services we provide. There is a common misconception that Councils would not be able to cope and are a lesser entity than the Northern Ireland Assembly.

“In fact, there is a great pool of experience and expertise that can be tapped into on our local Councils and this should be taken advantage of,” he insisted.

“Councils are ready and able to cope with greater responsibility. We are currently responsible for less than 4% (£738m) of public spending across the province and greater responsibility would need to be properly resourced.

 

 

Councillor Byrne added, “Councils across the UK and the Republic of Ireland have greater control over public spending in this area and there is no reason why it can’t be the norm here. It is now time to hand more power down to local Councils so that local people can have a greater say in how we shape our areas and services.”

 

 

 


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