Deal on council numbers?

Despite the recent reduction in the “love in” the DUP and SF may have reached a deal on the number of councils. According to the BBC, a deal is imminent on reducing the number to 11. SF had wanted 7, some of the other parties 15. We do not have finalised information on what the exact boundaries will be though I see the Impartial Reporter is reporting that Omagh and Fermanagh will merge. The final decision on the boundaries will come under Arlene Foster’s remit at Enviroment.

  • Blackmouth

    And under your hero Turgon we would have had seven.

  • kensei

    I still maintain 11 is a pointless waste of money.

    Hell, scrap ’em all. The Assembly is a glorified council and over represented anyway.

  • Greenflag

    ‘The Assembly is a glorified council ‘

    And talking shop. Still better than a shoot out .

  • ballyboy

    it’ll be interesting to see what dire names they come up with this time, remember Inner East Council etc.

  • Crataegus

    Kensei

    I agree why not go the whole hog and get rid of the lot. Population of NI less than 2 million, do we need two layers at all? A few more MLAs and let us then coordinate services across NI.

    Either that or leave well alone.

  • Is that about what the British government wanted?

  • darth rumsfeld

    “And under your hero Turgon we would have had seven.

    Posted by Blackmouth on Mar 13, 2008 @ 10:40 AM”

    What an immature post.

    Who really cares whether there are 7/11/15 councils? The big decisions will be taken at Stormont, where the problem lies. I never understood the paranoia about nationalists controlling a council. I’ve lived in Unionist and nationalist controlled areas and they were both crap at providing adequate services and charging the earth for doing so to the hardpressed ratepayers.

    The only thing they might be able to do is implement planning policies (dictated by Stormont) more sympathetically. The only ptasctical difference is that Unionist councils go through the motions of keeping the rates down, and nationalists find ways to pretend they’re really part of the Republic, like taking down symbols- of course using national legislation as their justification.

    I don’t care if there are only seven, as long as they are geographically sensible- say six counties and Belfast- or give the Derry wans their own county borough too if it stops their gurning.I don’t care who the mayor is either- he’s a figurehead whose only real power is to dole out the scoops to his preferred visitors.

    Memo to all DUPers who will trail this as a great victory- local councils don’t matter, regional administrations do

  • Nestor Makhno

    darth: ‘…councils don’t matter, regional administrations do’

    I’d disagree. Power is used best when it’s spread like manure.

    For thirty years we lived in an area controlled by a few unelected British ministers. We’ve been starved of a culture of democracy and that’s been a bad thing.

    Now with an Assembly, and an opportunity to re-organise the district councils, we can try and get some power and responsibilites down to as local a level as possible.

    I don’t know about you but I like the fact that I can pick up a phone and complain to my councillor, who lives around the corner, that my streets are filthy and that there’s nothing for the kids to do. (And such local issues are more important to most people than many of the things the Assembly deals with.)

    In yesterday’s Guardian Simon Jenkins noted that the French were about to elect 36,000 mayors. As he noted, such local democracy (despite its many failings) defends the French against the weight of national bureaucracy.

    Give our local councils a chance – with some extra power and a bit of reorganisation – they could do the same.

  • “The only thing they might be able to do is implement planning policies (dictated by Stormont) more sympathetically.”

    Now, that’s debatable!!

  • majordolittle

    For thirty years we lived in an area controlled by a few unelected British ministers.

    We still do.

    Alastair Darlings’ budget yesterday will have more impact to people here than the wee pretendy student debating society at Stormont.

    Taxation,the NHS, real education policy, foreign affairs, defence, budget. All Westminster.

    look to David Cameron as our best hope.

  • Nestor Makhno

    Surely majordolittle taxation and the budget are actualy controlled by Brussels and the global markets?

    With UK defence and foreign affairs covered by the US State Department?

  • pacman

    “The only practical difference is that Unionist councils go through the motions of keeping the rates down, and nationalists find ways to pretend they’re really part of the Republic, like taking down symbols- of course using national legislation as their justification”

    Feckless, work-shy Fenians again, eh? I’ll bet they still keep their coal in their baths.

    Good to see the same old attitudes alive and well. Perhaps it’s time for the Nationalist-contolled super-councils to petition for secession from the union and reunite with our own.

  • majordolittle

    point taken Nestor

    Globalisation and world regionialisation will turn even national parliaments in to mundane administrations soon enough, with the UK still caught trying to please Brussels and Washington.

    The Stormont gravy train has a fair bit of nest feathering to continue, uselessly for another year or so though.

  • Steve

    “The only thing they might be able to do is implement planning policies (dictated by Stormont) more sympathetically.”

    Now, that’s debatable!!

    Posted by Nevin on Mar 13, 2008 @ 12:27 PM

    Depends is wee ian a local councelor as well

  • DK

    I hope they extend the community veto thing to local councils (although I would have veto for the top 2 communities of unionist, nationalist and unaligned to cover areas where there is no unionist/nationalist to speak of, like North Down) to stop them trying to errect flags and change names and other worthless frippery.

  • willowfield

    I hope, for God’s sake that they don’t gerrymander Belfast as was originally proposed.

    It is ludicrous to give, for example, planning powers back to local councils but then not allow Belfast to plan for the whole city.

    I fear, though, that having a 50:50 sectarian split will prove more important to the Assembly (specifically to nationalist members) than actually providing the most sensible area in which to plan, co-ordinate and provide public services.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Perhaps it’s time for the Nationalist-contolled super-councils to petition for secession from the union and reunite with our own. ‘

    You mean ‘unite’ with the Republic. You cannot reunite with a Republic which has only existed since 1949 . I have a gut feeling that the Assembly will prove to be a house of cards . And I don’t mean of the comical variety.

    Not that either the DUP or SF will try to collapse it but it will become obvious soon enough that it will be unable to legislate on those matters which can make a difference to NI’s future economic prosperity. In addition differences between the parties over security devolution will split whatever small trust has been created .

  • pacman

    I meant reuinite with our own people, Greenflag.

  • joeCanuck

    our own people?

    Yea; we certainly don’t want any of themmuns about the place.

    For shame!

  • pacman

    Why shame Joe – when Darth’s post above clearly demonstrates that they still see us as beneath them. I’m all for reaching out the hand of friendship but there’s only so many times you allow it to be bitten.

  • Greenflag

    ‘I meant reuinite with our own people, Greenflag. ‘

    As long as you are aware that the ‘people’ of the Republic now includes many who were not born here including Poles, Chinese , Brits, Lithuanians , Latvians and even some of ‘themmuns’

    A 29 or 30 county Republic can be just as successful as a 26 county one .

  • pacman

    I know that also Greenflag. You referred to reunite in my original post as somehow reuniting with the Republic which did not exist when we were partitioned. I pointed out that I meant reunification with our people that we had been partitioned from.

    Joe seems to think that I should prefer to continue to live alongside people who view me as less than them rather than want to live with people (irrespective of relgion or nationality) who will view me as equal.

  • Greenflag

    ‘but there’s only so many times you allow it to be bitten.’

    The white washed crow soon shows black again. Unionists can’t help it . It’s pre ordained . They have to bite. It’s been forced on them . That’s why there is an NI . An NI could not exist otherwise .

    For Nationalists and Republicans to expect anything else is naive . So either you work with it and make do or you ‘bite’ the only real alternative !

  • x

    Some say this is a victory for the DUPs- bollocks! the DUPs never knew what they wanted. All throughout this process the DUPs never once put in a position paper that stated a preference. They always hedged their bets – abit like their manifestos.

    Lisburn Village Council – controlled by the jnr minister Alderman Gnome MP MLA, supported a seven council model. The great barrister from Nth Down Cllr Weary MLA as NILGA head honcho strongly supporter 15.

    Paisley – couldn’t care less because none of his family were on any councils.

    So there you have it – DUP confusion leads to compromise again with the Shinners. SF had a clear position position 7, even the UUP had a clear position 15, so DUP with no rationale go for the mean, the medium and the middle – 11.

    But how many commissioners for local government services will we get. 4 times 11 times Jeffries age divided by Ian jnr’s salaries by Arlene’s mileage allowance and then some

  • We haven’t even finished the first page of comments and have gone from a discussion on local councils (number and latterly effectiveness/importance thereof) to melodramatic shite which basically boils down to using hyperbole to dress up bigoted statements with no more meaning than “Aren’t them prods all bastards?”

    For christ’s sake get out more!

  • pacman

    “Aren’t them prods all bastards?”

    Aren’t them fenians all lazy bastards?

    There’s a difference?

  • Nestor Makhno

    UTV Newsroom are reporting that the Executive has agreed on eleven councils.

  • Twinbrook

    Agree that there are pertinent questions that need to be addressed about another layer of *officialdom*, or gravy train for the boys…

    The only good thing will be the death of Lisburn council and their no Taigs, Poles, Coloreds, Gays or Dogs attitude..

    bye bye lisburn council…………….. city for none.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Twinbrook

    Yeah, uniting with that bastion of pluralism, Castlereagh, is certainly going to usher in a new dawn of tolerance around there….

  • joeCanuck

    Pacman,

    I do believe that most Protestants (for want of a better word) in N.I. are today quite happy to accept Catholics (again for want of a better word) as equals, except perhaps in religious matters, which are less and less important to all citizens.

  • pacman

    I actually accept that for Protestants Joe – I never mentioned religion anywhere previously until beano added his 10 pence worth. I don’t accept it for unionists though (there is a difference IMO and experience) as I believe has already been demonstrated in this thread where nationalists are portrayed as a waste of a local council vote but unionists aren’t as they apparently at least try to work for the people.

    Mind you, recent stories concerning charitable consituency offices, portaloos and property developers would tend to challenge that assertion.

  • Nestor Makhno

    Getting back to the matter in hand. Arlene Foster has announced that the specific council model she is going for is what was called 11(b) in the original RPA document.

    So – eleven councils with responsibility for local roads, urban regeneration, community development, local economic development, some housing, local tourism.

    The original consultation document is here.

  • The__Raven

    Actually, we’ll probably find very little new powers. THAT will be part of the deal.

    Rural Development, some Housing powers…but I don’t think there will be much else.

  • majordolittle

    So – eleven councils with responsibility for local roads, urban regeneration, community development, local economic development, some housing, local tourism.

    So what is the Assembly accountable for?
    And x number of quangoes?

    How many layers of cake is it possible to have?

    Remember Lewis Carrolls island where the economy was everybody took in everybody elses laundry.

    Arlene in Wonderland

  • Bigger Picture

    “local councils don’t matter, regional administrations do”

    No offence Dart but that is a pretty lame attempt to dodge the question on the TUV’s position on all of this. I have no reason to doubt that if 7 councils had of been doled out by Stormont that one of the first people to complain would have been Jim Allister accussing the DUP of forgetting about the unionist people west of the bann. The TUV are in an interesting dilemma at the moment. For once Paisley has been sidelined and once things start to happen that are actually to Unionists advantage the TUV has no response but to go quiet on the issue. Either that or issue a statement claiming they are responsible for a stop to concessions, but then again that would be hard considering they do not have their hands on the levers of power.

    I said to Turgon on another thread that the TUV really needs to consider if it is an opposition party or merely an interest group that wants to keep the DUP in check. Jim cannot let policy decisions go unanswered simply because they do not refer to the IRA army council, his response to the fact that devolution of P&J;wouldn’t happen was to grumble something about how the DUP shouldn’t be there in the first place. They need to define who they are and what they stand for. Robinson is banking on the TUV harping on in the past and not taking them on on the real substantive issues. However it seems that if the DUP do indeed get these decisions right and the optics fixed, the TUV position has become a real tricky one.

    My opinion on the councils for what it is worth is that 11 councils seems about right. 7 meant that lisburn, carrick and Larne were all covered in one area. That was far too big and this has divided the council areas up into reasonable proportions. The likes of Cookstown, Strabane, Moyle, Banbridge, Newtownabbey and Castlereagh councils were not really that necessary. I think this solves that problem without making the whole thing unworkable due to area. We also do not need three levels of government as we already have Westminster, Stormont and our local councils therefore in terms of power i cannot see them getting too much more.

  • Bigger Picture

    Darth* not Dart!

  • Reader

    pacman: Feckless, work-shy Fenians again, eh?
    That seems to be showing a bit of oversensitivity, doesn’t it? I don’t think “going through the motions” is being presented by Darth as hard work, any more than “finding ways to pretend” is necessarily lazier. Overall of course “they were both crap at providing adequate services and charging the earth for doing so”.
    Instead, why not dispute the generalised claims? Surely there are instances where nationalist councils have gone through the motions of keeping down rates, and unionist councils have found ways to pretend they are twinned with Finchley? That would challenge him!
    Or if you can find a council of either flavour that was good at providing adequate services economically, that would show him…

  • willowfield

    Arlene Foster has announced that the specific council model she is going for is what was called 11(b) in the original RPA document.

    That’s ridiculous. That means she’s keeping Belfast’s Victorian boundaries as they are, and merging Castlereagh with Lisburn, and Newtownabbey with Antrim, instead.

    How stupid.

    For the record, these are the 11 mergers:

    Belfast
    Castlereagh & Lisburn
    Antrim & Newtownabbey
    Ards & North Down
    Down & Newry & Mourne
    Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon
    Cookstown, Dungannon & Magherafelt
    Fermanagh & Omagh
    Derry & Strabane
    Limavady, Coleraine, Ballymoney & Moyle
    Ballymena, Carrickfergus & Larne

  • DK

    Pacman: “Joe seems to think that I should prefer to continue to live alongside people who view me as less than them rather than want to live with people (irrespective of relgion or nationality) who will view me as equal.”

    Oh don’t worry, I’m sure they’ll look down on you too.

  • slug

    Arlene Foster deserves to be praised for her consensual handling of this. She set up an executive sub committee with cross party membership and though the parties had different preferences managed to get a deal through the Executive Committee. No solo runs, with an effectve outcome.

  • Nestor Makhno

    ‘Cookstown, Dungannon & Magherafelt’

    I can’t imagine people living in South Derry would be too happy about being under the thumb of a Tyrone dominated council.

    (Joking aside – travelling from Magherafelt Belfast is quicker to get to by car than Dungannon; Magherafelt’s acute services are based at Antrim Hospital; and the town’s school catchment area lies to the north rather than the south).

    This things always look more workable on a map, don’t they?

  • DK

    Willowfield,

    That’s the trouble with Belfast – expand the boundaries in any direction and you end up with a unionist majority on the council.

    Unless you go for the mandatory power sharing as per the assembly, in which case it doesn’t matter how many unionists you have – but at least you might have a sensible border for the provision of services… should the council ever decide to look at those

  • headcount

    So the Shinners have sacrificed Armagh in the hope of turning Belfast green.

  • Twinbrook

    Billy, sorry won`t be my concern as Twinbrook and Poleglass as it is at Westminister elections will be moved back to its natural home…west Belfast

  • WindsorRocker

    The reality is that no proposal acceptable to Nationalists would involve parts of Newtonabbey and Castlereagh coming under Belfast…. far too many Prods there to swing the council ….. and who complained about gerrymandering in the past????

    It is ridiculous that people in Ardenlee Avenue are served by BCC yet people at the top of the Cregagh road are served by Castlereagh. But this is Norn Iron.

  • Some absolute abortions in there – Lisburn/Castlereagh, Omagh/Fermanagh and Ballymena/Carrick/Larne have no community focus at all. Clearly a back of the envelope compromise. SF and DUP can’t do joined up government; can’t actually do coherent government at all, just a series of policy fiefs who but antlers until a deadline comes up, when they cobble something half-arsed together (see also non-abolition of the 11-plus, Victims Commissioner(s), Programme for Government).

    Now I’ll get a lecture from the usual Chucky/DUP apologists about how great the government is and how I’m such a sneering Alliance snob. Well, fine, if I’m wrong, prove it, otherwise, houl your collective wheeshts.

  • slug

    “It is ridiculous that people in Ardenlee Avenue are served by BCC yet people at the top of the Cregagh road are served by Castlereagh.”

    I believe the exact boundaries will be adjusted somewhat after recommendations from the Boundary Commission, which will be asked to suggest modest boundary adjustments on the basis of what makes sense locally. This might include adding some parts of Castlereagh, West Belfast, and North Belfast, to Belfast. As UTV say:

    “Importantly the Boundary Commission will have an important role in finessing the final shape of things to come”

  • Twinbrook

    “how I’m such a sneering Alliance snob.”

    condemned by your own words!

    11 councils will be the deathnell of independents and the small parties..

  • Interesting … very interesting.

    What caught my eye on the BBC website map was the area (marked in a washy mauve on my monitor) labelled “Derry”.

    That should salt a few tails.

    Anent that:
    Some years before I joined the diaspora and ended up in London, the London Government Act had carved the metropolis and its surrounding UDCs and Metropolitan Boroughs into the mess we’ve been lumbered with ever since.

    It was done by a Tory Government trying to ensure that inner London’s Labour control was out-voted by the leafy suburbs (anything here sound vaguely familiar?). It didn’t work, not because we outbred ’em, but because demographics and people’s self-interest changed.

    So, of course, another Tory came along and abolished the GLC, because it didn’t do what she wanted. And tossed a slew of responsibilities, but few “powers” and less finance at the Boroughs. Result: see last sentence of previous paragraph.

    At the beginning of this whole business, about the only thing that was open to offers was naming the Boroughs. Because there were so many local rivalries, London ended up with some real loo-loos. In which respect, here we go again.

  • Taser

    Limavady will come under a Unionist Council and Down – which was to come under a Unionist Council in the 7 council model will remain ‘green’.

    All in all a good negotiation by Sinn Féin on the face of it. I just heard Arlene Foster on the radio talking about how good it will be to have equality safeguards included for minorities, an argument that only SF had made in the past.

    Bad news for the SDLP who are now the biggest party in Down and Foyle but will lose this position to SF in the Newry/Down and Derry/Stabane Councils.

    SF will be the biggest party in all councils along the border except for Armagh. Belfast will obviously depend on the Border Commissioner, anyone have any idea how this BC will be appointed and when??

  • Sammy Morse “Some absolute abortions in there … Omagh/Fermanagh … have no community focus at all. “
    I don’t see your reasoning there. I always thought there was a good connection between those from the Omagh area and Fermanagh. Rural, nationalist majority but a large unionist minority, both now using the same hospital. Both suffering from distrust of government / officialdom due to distance in miles and ‘poor mouth farmer syndrome’. Both have strong connections with the neighboring border counties in RoI.

    However the pubs in Enniskillan are better than Omagh and the other 30 counties would like to see the Ernesiders win football rather than Mickey Harte’s crew

    I’m not challenging you but would like if you could expand on your opinion of Omagh/Fermanagh. Thanks, yours is one of the few knowledgeable opinions on this site.

  • for the nit pickers:

    of course, Omagh doesn’t border the RoI but Tyrone does and as such I included this as a similarity w Fermanagh.

  • StarHound

    Before Malcom Redfellow adds to his list of things to write to ‘Points of View’ about, he might want to note that it’s the Derry City Council area that is shown in lilac and this is what the ‘Derry’ refers to.

    No name change yet….

  • Limavady Wan

    Bad news for Limavady. The bigots are back in charge.

  • Another Limavady Wan

    Actually Limavady Wan, it’ll be a great opportunity for Limavady. The fear by many in the area was that the Borough would come under an all-encompassing city governance which – let’s face it – only cares about one thing: itself.

    I pity Strabane, to be honest. It will be like current rural Derry – a wee add-on to the (and I use the word advisedly) city.

    Under this model, Limavady will be able to at least fight for resources on a reasonably semi-fair basis. Also, don’t forget that area has been working far more with, and has many more linkages with the “Causeway Coast” area. This is a key chance for it to develop its rural tourism, and many other aspects of local economy.

    The Borough has been run from Dungiven for far too long. Bigotry is not only a sin that can be attributed to the P/U/L community.

  • Another Limavady Wan

    By the way – there is not much love lost between Omagh and Fermanagh. It’s a hospital thing. And certainly at Council level, Fermanagh wants nothing to do with Omagh. “Bitter” and “animosity” are two words which spring to mind.

  • StarHound @ 07:09 PM:
    I don’t frequent “Points of View” or the other Beeb resorts any more: they’ve sussed I’m an alias, and put me on ignoral. Sigh … it’s a tough life if you weaken. But — cheers up — you can always get another pseudonym!

    No: my real point was this is all distraction therapy, confuse-a-cat week stuff.

    There’s going to be a lot of time and effort spent on adjusting dividing lines by a street or townland, just to satisfy a local politico’s wish for survival. It won’t work, because an odd half dozen in-fill houses spoil all previous assumptions. Then more blood and thunder on naming our own little patch of sunshine (which, in NI, is going to be infinitely frustrating, and works decent folk into a frightful froth). And people, or some of them, are going actually to believe this amounts to democracy and local control.

    Anyone H2G2-savvy might be recalling Marvin:

    “I didn’t ask to be made: no one consulted me or considered my feelings in the matter. I don’t think it even occurred to them that I might have feelings. After I was made, I was left in a dark room for six months… and me with this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side. I called for succour in my loneliness, but did anyone come? Did they hell. My first and only true friend was a small rat. One day it crawled into a cavity in my right ankle and died. I have a horrible feeling it’s still there…”

  • MFB

    Sammy Morse: Some absolute abortions in there – Lisburn/Castlereagh, Omagh/Fermanagh and Ballymena/Carrick/Larne have no community focus at all.

    I agree wholeheartedly with the notion that Ballymena/Carrickfergus/Larne conglomeration is ill-thought out.

    Where will this entity be based – Carrick (tucked away at the bottom with Antrim between it an Ballymena), Ballymena (tucked away at the top with Antrim in the way again) or the bottom right corner notion of Larne as the base.

    A better idea (from a Carrickfergus perspective) would have been to shift those Newtownabbey areas which are to be moved into the North Belfast parliamentary constituency from South Antrim into Belfast and merge the remainder of Newtownabbey, Carrickfergus and Antrim together.

    This is a 2 party fudge.

  • Another Limavady Wan “there is not much love lost between Omagh and Fermanagh. It’s a hospital thing.”

    Those I spoke with say that Omagh didn’t nothing constructive about holding onto their hospital until it was too late in comparison to the efforts made by Fermanagh ….and I heard this from people from Omagh

  • Eddie

    So what have Saintfield and Crossmaglen got in common? Both will be in the new Down/Newry/Armagh set-up, (unless boundary commission acts)

    Leaving politics/religion aside, how do you administer an area like that?

  • ballyboy

    Was just going to make the Saintfield/Crossmaglen point, Eddie. That one in particular looks pretty hideous on a map. And what will they call it? Also, the Dungannon/Cookstown/Magheafelt council will contain bits of 3 separate counties (as Dungannon currently contains a small slice of north Armagh). I still think they should revert to the old county council formula myself, while retaining the likes of say Lisburn, Newtownabbey, Castlereagh in the greater Belfast area. Maybe even separate councils for Derry city and the rest of the county (the latter administered from Coleraine or Limavady). You could still work it that there’s approx. equal numbers of nationalist/unionist councils if that’s so important.

  • Niall Gormley

    The last time this came up I did up a proposal for an 11 council model. I still think it makes more sense than the one proposed now.

    Sorry for using the community background map but it does show the wards. Here’s the proposal again for the crack.

    http://homepage.eircom.net/~newsbase/11CouncilProposal.html

  • ballyboy

    Interesting proposal Niall, I think a lot of people would be happy with an arrangement like that (including myself as a Tyrone man).

  • dublinsinnfeinsupporter

    SF seem to have negotiated an excellent deal here for six county nationalists. SDLP take second place now in each and every council and the leadership of SF within the six county nationalist community is further promoted. Another good days work by Sinn Féin; another nail in the coffin of the SDLP.

  • The Raven

    “Another good days work by Sinn Féin; another nail in the coffin of the SDLP.”

    Obey the Party. Never question the Leadership. They are infallible. It’s all for the Love of Big Brother…

    I love reading posts like this. It always puts me in mind of how the Wall would never fall. Or how China would never accept any sort of free market.

    A Dublin supporter too. So rare, he had to remind us there were some down there…

  • Truth & Justice

    The good thing is the DUP stopped Sinn Fein battle for seven councils 6 are controlled by Unionism Belfast stays the same, if the UUP had have gor Castlereagh added to Belfast wish it could still do under the review of local boundries then there would have been 6 Nationalist Councils not four, well done DUP.

  • overehere

    Raven

    I hope you are going to dish out the same stuff to the troll T&J;as you did to dublinsinnfeinsupporter !!

  • 0b101010

    I couldn’t give a fiddlers about the carve-up, but 11 councils is still far too many for a country with less than 2 million people and a local assembly. Anything less than 26 is a welcome improvement, though.

  • willowfield

    DK

    That’s the trouble with Belfast – expand the boundaries in any direction and you end up with a unionist majority on the council.

    So that’s what we’re reduced to? A unionist majority is unacceptable? That’s gerrymandering.

  • Butterknife

    I am turning into Victor Meldrew: I don’t believe it!
    They just took the feckin’ average!! (7{SF}+15{DUP})/2 = 11 …
    What genius came up with that ….

  • the dowie

    I’m looking out the window at a citybus route, a mile and a bit from central station, inside the city’s ring road. Apparently it’s not in Belfast!

    Parts of the current council areas known as Newtownabbey and Castlereagh, along with those currently within the Lisburn boundary but really being in Westest Belfast should all come within any new BCC area. Anything otherwise is a total nonsense.

  • willowfield

    Absolutely, the Dowie.

  • DK

    DK : “That’s the trouble with Belfast – expand the boundaries in any direction and you end up with a unionist majority on the council.”

    Willowfield: “So that’s what we’re reduced to? A unionist majority is unacceptable? That’s gerrymandering.”

    Yes, you’re very perceptive. That’s why we need mandatory power sharing on all councils – like in the assembly. Funny no-one is talking about this – too concerned with their private feifdoms.

    Or alternatively, we could simply have 2 councils – one for prods and one for taigs. We could call it “the assembly” or something.

  • willowfield

    Yes, you’re very perceptive. That’s why we need mandatory power sharing on all councils – like in the assembly. Funny no-one is talking about this – too concerned with their private feifdoms.

    But apparently it’s OK to have some nationalist-controlled councils and some unionist-controlled councils … as long as none of them is Belfast.

  • The Raven

    Overehere,

    Really, do I need to? Do I need to write the words you’re already thinking? lol

    These models were drawn up at a point where I can nearly use the phrase “years ago”. There’s no “well done Sinn Fein/DUP” about it.

    Now if they had actually sat down, and drawn up a completely NEW model, then I might have agreed with all the congratulations. But they didn’t.

    Seven was no good. Fifteen was too many. It was always going to be eleven. It was just a question of which one. My only shock at the whole thing was the prevarication and obfuscation that meant it took so long.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Willowfield/Sammy,

    One suspects (hopes) that the boundary commissioner will take an axe to the boundaries and make them look a little more elegant.

  • willowfield

    Michael

    He won’t be able to.

    He will be restricted in his terms of reference only to do a bit of tinkering around the edges. He will not be able to make significant changes.

  • darth rumsfeld

    pacman
    you really are a classic MOPEr aren’t you?
    The Unionist councillors always bum on about keeping the rates down- Punt in particular
    The nationalist councillors seem to consider it a profitable exercise of their powers to remove symbols of “themmuns”

    I don’t have much time for either posture ( though the former is arguably more relevant, given it actually costs us money to employ town managers, community relation officers etc who we managed without perfectly well beforehand). I’ve never heard a nationalist councillor worrying about rates burdens on local businesses nor a Unionist councillor gurning about -say Irish language signs on council offices. Perhaps they do. I merely observe they are all equally poor at meeting the needs of all.

    Limavady wans
    Do you really want to be a suburb of our Whine City Central? I almost feel sorry for Strabane! Coleraine’s depressingly dull councillors won’t be able to dominate if Ballymoney Limavady and Moyle have thebrains to gang up on them. The Mid Ulster councils can enjoy their own wee snakepit. Ballymena can pretend to be the city of seven towers, even though it’s..er, not a city and hasn’t seven towers. Omagh and Fermanagh have their own time zone anyway. The northern/western regions seems to have been sorted fairly well. Not so sure about the rest, but not my area.

  • pacman

    So pointing out that traditional unionism’s view of their world is feckless nationalists versus hardworking unionists is mopery?

    There you go – I obviously stand corrected.

  • Dewi

    Council Uni Nat Oth total
    Derr / Straban 11 34 1 46 N
    Ferm / Omagh 15 27 2 44 N
    BCLM 37 25 6 68 U
    Ards / ND 33 1 12 46 U
    Aem/Ban/C’von 38 25 2 65 U
    Belfast 21 22 7 50 ?
    Castlr / Lisb 37 9 7 53 U
    Antrim/Newton 29 8 7 44 U
    Down, N&M; 12 37 4 53 N
    CBL 40 6 10 56 U
    CDM 21 33 0 54 N

    Last times results added up (I know there will be ward size effects but indicative I suggest)

  • interested

    Willowfield,
    I’d imagine the Terms of Reference for the Boundary Commissioner would be similar to that which was proposed under the 7 Council model. He/she will not be able to move the entire area of one of the current 26 Councils between one of the proposed new ones but could move anything up to about half.

    Frankly in my opinion that still leaves a significant opportunity for movement.

    Of course Fred Cobain would have Ballyclare as part of Belfast City Council under his “bring all of Newtownabbey into Belfast” idea. There are obvious parts of Castlereagh which any reasonable person would/should bring in under a Boundary Commission. The Belvoir estate is Belfast in anyone’s definition and I don’t see why areas like that wouldn’t move into Belfast quite easily. That would only be one ward of Castlereagh but would correct one area fairly simply.

  • carnmoney

    Presumably the Assembly has to legislate for the approximate boundaries or groupings before a Commissioner draws the exact lines. Isn’t there supposed to be consultation on the specific model put forward?

    The proposed 11 are a mix of the sensible (N Down/Ards, Lim/Cole/Bmoney/Moyle), the slightly out (why not amend to Ant/Bmena and N’abbey/Carrick/Larne?) and the totally irrational (Newry/Down). Belfast boundaries will be a dogfight: Dunmurry and much of Castlereagh should logically be in, but the M2 makes a clear boundary to the north. Lisburn/Castlereagh is as stupid (all the suburbs from northwest to east) as the old ‘inner east’ (going from north to south east).

    Shouldn’t Fermanagh be on its own, same as London/derry City, with Omagh and Strabane having more in common together?

  • dub

    so we go from an equal split to 6 – 4 unionist victory and belfast, as before, even stephens.

    sinn fein playing a blinder…. people of armagh and moyle now coming under unionist jackboot. and no regions large enough to really make a difference to east/west split in north…

    plsn b never looked more attractive….

  • slug

    Plan B was Direct Rule.

  • dub

    yes and we would have 1: ila 2: 7 supercouncils and therefore real power in nationalists hands 3: nationalists would not be ruled by unionists and 4: developing east west links over the heads of the unionists.

    sounds like a good deal to me….

  • When I arrived at this party, I made three predictions (see post 24 on page 2):
    1. we would have endless argy-bargy about precise delineations of Council areas;
    2. then those Councils would expend time and energy on deciding what to be named; but
    3. such distraction therapy would make sure nobody outside the corridors of power bothered about the powers and responsibilities (i.e. the real democratic clout) the Councils could gain for themselves.

    From most of what’s said here so far, I see no reason to change my assumptions.

    Believe me, there’s nothing to wind up central Government, anywhere, better than an effective local democratic presence. A further corollary to that is all local councils, despite political persuasions, have a common interest in combining against the Centre: that’s why associations of councillors and other collaborations are significant.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “yes and we would have 1: ila 2: 7 supercouncils and therefore real power in nationalists hands 3: nationalists would not be ruled by unionists and 4: developing east west links over the heads of the unionists.

    sounds like a good deal to me….”

    and there we have the problem in a nutshell
    It’s not about providing better housing and recycling for some nationalists, but a way to dissolve the border.

    Here’s a wee problem for you: all councils have lots of Unionists and lots of nationalists in their boundaries. Most have generally worked fairly well at accommodating minorities- the recent attempts by the Dungiven mafia to rub Limavady Unionist noses in it by flexing their muscles is a classic case of self-defeatism in an area which up to then had decades of better than average cross-community relations throughout the dark years. So shorts all round in the Kevin Lynch hurling club and slap it up the Huns.That’s the way to unite Ireland!

    The size and shape of the new councils allows for such substantial minorities that it will be a very foolish party that embarks on that type of exercise. Nobody’s “ruled by” anyone in councils-they don’t control the police and army; they control the binmen

  • Limavady Wan

    darth,

    will you and your mates be erecting the ‘Limavady Says No’ banner above Limavady library/council building again, now that your lot are back in charge of the fenians (mafia!) in Limavady/Dungiven.

    That’ll really encourage greater community relations.

    The new council boundaries worry some nationalists because most people realize that when 50%+1 comes, unionists will revert to form and demand repartion (democracy not being their strong point). The council boundaries could well be used for such purposes.

  • PaddyReilly

    The new council boundaries worry some nationalists because most people realize that when 50%+1 comes, unionists will revert to form and demand repartition (democracy not being their strong point). The council boundaries could well be used for such purposes.

    More or less inevitable, isn’t it? Once NI is revealed to be majority Nationalist, Unionists will suddenly realise that there is no such place. Looking at the local government areas, they will see that the Nationalist majority resides solely in Fermanagh, Tyrone, Derry City, and Newry/Down.

    SF have badly slipped up here.

  • declan

    The councils could have a bearing in the outworkings of a “2021 scenario”.

    The 2021 scenario, the secnarion in which the era of nationalist demographic increase is seen to come to an end short of the critical mass needed for a UI, could lead to repartition. As nationalists in the six counties think again about the idea of a fair repartition.

  • IJP

    That Down-Newry one is a bit odd to say the least.

    Best to place eastern Banbridge in with Downpatrick and Newry City, and west Mourne in with Craigavon/Armagh.

    Then you could call one ‘Armagh’ and the other ‘South Down’.

    While we’re at it, we could merge Strabane, Cookstown, Omagh and Dungannon and call that ‘Tyrone’, merge Ballymena, Ballymoney and Moyle and call that ‘North Antrim’… you get where I’m going with this, don’t you…?

  • IJP

    Niall

    Spot on. Excellent job.

  • PaddyReilly

    The 2021 scenario, the secnarion (?) in which the era of nationalist demographic increase is seen to come to an end short of the critical mass needed for a UI

    Another disaster caused by this cock-up is the reappearance of Declan’s single transferable post. Well, Declan, since last you posted we have made some advance on the question. Your assumption that the nationalist demographic increase is slowing down is, I think, almost certainly based on the religious figures in the census. You assume, probably correctly but technically without proof, that Catholic = Nationalist and Protestant = Unionist, such exceptions as there are on each side cancelling each other out. Now it is true that Catholics are not reproducing as fast as they used to:-

    [Google NISRA s306 and choose the HTML option]

    However, if you look more closely you will find that Protestants are dying off a lot faster than Catholics are, because there are a lot more elderly Protestants than there are elderly Catholics. Indeed, for the next 50 years the Protestant electorate will be decreasing by a significant number- 15,000 to 20,000 per decade- more than Catholics, due to the loss of its elderly members. So the idea that the Catholic percentage of the electorate will stop increasing in 2021 is false, because the Protestant percentage will continue to decrease.

    Looking at the matter from a party point of view, rather than a religious one, I note that there are 18 constituencies and in my lifetime the number of these held by Nationalists has increased from 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 to 5 to 6 to 7 to 8. The next numbers in this series are, in my opinion, 9 and 10, by which time Unionist MPs will be in a minority.

    Equally, I cannot for the life of me see how Unionists can expect to win 2 seats out of 3 in the 2014 European Parliament elections, so worrying about 2021 is unnecessary.

  • abucs

    Any truth to the rumours that the Derry / Strabane proposal will also incorporate parts of eastern Donegal as a pilot for future east-west co-operation ?? :o)

  • Frustrated Democrat

    What a mess – what have Ballymena, Larne and Carrick got in common – no decent road connections, two are coastal Ballymena is inland, Carrick has always gravitated towards Newtownabbey and Ballymena to Antrim or Ballymoney where they all have good connections.

    Councillors will have to travel long distances over inferior roads when they already have too little time, they should be able to concentrate on their electorates – who will want the job in this case.

  • Butterknife

    Gerrymandering is legal in New York! Many they should bring it back for here …. *ducks*

  • Paul

    ‘What a mess – what have Ballymena, Larne and Carrick got in common ‘

    Answer – Sectarian cesspits and dodgy accents.

  • Ulster Scoot

    “what have Ballymena, Larne and Carrick got in common”

    Tha hamely tangue a’ tha Ulster Scoots leid, a’ll be luckin foyered till hearin gud spakins in tha leid whin this thang gits gaen.

  • Crataegus

    What a mess – what have Ballymena, Larne and Carrick got in common

    Absolutely nothing.

    Carrick and Newtownabbey are suburbs of Belfast as is Castlereagh and much of N Down. The natural boundary to Belfast are the hills around Belfast Lough, but that would be like identifying a unit that should be coordinated. In all this nonsense we forget that what really matters is that the councils function efficiently and deliver good services. We also need to consider that the council areas should to be able to plan and coordinate to promote investment. We continue the carve up of Belfast at our peril.

    Someone remind me why we are reorganising the councils, what the purpose is and what real powers they are going to get? Is it really about Nationalist and Unionists head counts? Gerrymandering condoned by Unionists, Republicans and Nationalists?