Where are the benefits Mr Hain?

That’s Sean Farren’s take on it. “The protections [against discrimination] promised may well prevent any significant abuse. But these protections will not be able to prevent councils acquiring a particular character more closely associated with the identity of the majority and, therefore, creating a situation less welcoming to the minority. This cannot be good for community relations and could well accelerate demographic movement which would in turn lead to fewer rather more mixed community areas”.He goes on to dispute Hain’s claim early in his speech that these reforms would provide for a shared future:

“All parties are agreed that the number of councils needs to be reduced. It was, after all, the Executive which established the review of public administration. The exact number of councils needs to be further debated between the parties. But the final number should balance the overriding need for better community relations with demands for efficiencies and effectiveness of service delivery”.

And the former Finance Minister, disputes the NIO claims that the new situation will bring about fiscal benefits, virtually accusing Hain and his team of spinning other figures to justify the arrangements:

”At this point the NIO has not shown where efficiency gains are to be achieved. Indeed since the main services of health and education are not presently delivered by local councils, suggesting that the latter is where such efficiencies are to be gained is a red herring. Councils now control only 4% of public expenditure and can hardly be accused of major inefficiencies.

  • slug

    Here we have an issue that unionists, Alliance, and SDLP are at one on. That coalition is pretty wide and these parties should perhaps group together on this?

  • Keith M

    slug, I’m sure that there’s a few hundred “Ulster says No” plackards lying around somewhere.

    Can someone provide a coherant arguement for more councils (that doesn’t revolve around more jobs for the boys)?

  • slug

    The number 7 just doesn’t work too well in producing coherent communities. Look under “There may be some tinkering at the edges” where I have given my thoughts – even just going up to 9 or 10 seems to work a lot better.

  • Padraig

    We may loose the very Councillors who warn us of what Almighty God is planning to do on the Gays and Asians next.

  • Crataegus


    “Can someone provide a coherent argument for more councils”?

    1 COST have you ever fundamentally restructured a business? The costs are enormous.

    2 No savings to be made as councils only spend 4% of government expenditure and what do you cut. Collect the bins once a month perhaps?

    3 Local democracy. The council sizes will be larger than those in most of the civilised world.

    4 It is blatant gerrymandering.

    5 The boundaries proposed do not have any logical physical basis making future coordinated development difficult.

    I can see the sense of getting rid of some of the councils like merging Carrick with Newtownabbey; Ballymena with Antrim or Castlereagh with Belfast or even having a greater Belfast Metropolitan area council of whatever size. I can see these being logical proposals for coherent entities, but combining Lisburn with Carrick is stupid as is having a council that stretches from Bellek to Dungannon. Equally Magherafelt in with Strabane seems more than a little odd. The problem is the proposed units have no internal cohesion. Having said that if the existing works why fix it?

    With regards reorganising government services and reducing quangos a separate issue but go for it that is where there money is