Environment Minister, Edwin Poots, has claimed in a ‘leaked’ Executive document that plans to complete the reduction in the number of local government councils from 26 to 11 councils in total could be under threat due to a failure to agree the new boundaries. Alliance leader, David Ford, quite rightly notes that this dire warning by the Minister indicates a willingness on behalf of the Minister to ignore the recommendations of the impartial Boundary Commissioner. As I understand it, the conflict would appear to relate to the boundaries of the Minister’s own local government council (Lisburn) which have caused consternation within political unionist circles. So is this an attempt by the DUP to wield the (by now rusty) knife of the once dominant gerrymanderer?
Here’s what Edwin Poots had to say in the Assembly on the 20th October on the matter:
I took on board the lobbying that took place on behalf of the residents of Dunmurry on the boundary changes, through the submission that was made to the Executive. I identified a stronger boundary than the one that was included in the Local Government Boundaries Commissioners proposal. Modest modifications have been made.
That would be the same lobbying on behalf of ‘residents of Dunmurry’ which the Boundary Commission rejected.