Retreating across the power-sharing rubicon

The decision by the DUP leadership to make the historic leap into power-sharing politics through participation at Executive level in the north of Ireland has not been followed by the party’s elected representatives at local Council level. As the Belfast Telegraph has revealed, only 4 of the north’s 26 councils will be chaired by a nationalist Mayor/ Chairperson in the coming year. The fact that all nationalist-controlled councils practice some form of all inclusive cross-community power-sharing, whilst few unionist-controlled councils do, was partially the subject of Jim Gibney’s piece this week. The one person needing to take note will be Environment Minister, Arlene Foster, who is likely to find Sinn Fein unwilling to endorse any reforms of local government which do not involve legislating for a system of power-sharing across the newly proposed Councils (be they 7, 11, 15 or even 26 in number!)