Council reform founders on semi-detached polit-bureau rocks

The BBC reports that, after a weekend of private talks between the DUP and Sinn Féin, the Northern Ireland Executive semi-detached polit-bureau have failed to agree on the proposed reform of local government.  From the BBC report

Next year council elections will be based on the original model of 26.

SDLP, Sinn Fein and Alliance ministers all voted for the 11 council model but the three DUP ministers voted against. The UUP ministers did not vote.

Michael McGimspey, Sir Reg Empey and Edwin Poots absented themselves from the vote due to their roles as councillors.

The Environment Minister Edwin Poots, will write to the Northern Ireland Office Minister, Hugo Swire recommending that he proceeds with elections for the 26 councils.

Which leaves moot the issue of the boundaries…

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  • The Impartial Observer

    So how much has this fiasco cost??

  • joeCanuck

    Par for the course. They really are not attached, are they?

  • just sayin’


  • what next

    A call for a full Council election should now follow. The current crop have been in post for more than four years and deserve to be placed in front of the electorate before the end of the year.

  • Bungditin

    Incredible really that 3 ministers, including Poots, are unable to participate in a crucial executive decision because they choose to continue to double job! Pathetic!

  • Cynic

    What is the executive for? Yet again we have a naked sectarian split

    Why don’t we abolish all the local councils and have one county council to run the lot?

  • The Impartial Observer


    What a total disgrace! All because the Minister for Lisburn didn’t want to give up Poleglass, an estate which Lisburn Council spent most of the late 1970’s trying to stop! Forget about the bit about Forestside and the rates money, that was just a smokescreen. This was all because the DUP are terrified about the prospect of Belfast becoming a Nationalist city!

  • just sayin’

    be the largest county council in uk. why not nix stormont and pass powers to (say) 7 councils. they have at least come out of this with some credit?

  • as well as council being reformed its time the sinners got real and started to address the amount of over government there is at stormont ie a reduction in MLAs and departments its crazy for a place of this size to have 108 MLAs and 15 minsters local council reforms should go hand in hand with the assembly and departments reforms.the days are over when the sinners have there cake and eat it.

  • medillen

    Paul you have disappeared so far up your own sectaian backside it is hard to know where to start.

    The DUP fixation on blocking Sinn Fein has eroded all common sense and potential for a functioning Executive. You talk about reductions in Departments and MLA’s, no problem but at the same time Poots sqaunders millions already spent and savings worth two Saville inquiries, over a sectarian headcount in his council constituency, absolutely mad.

    The DUP are all over the place on this Peter Robinson and Sammy Wilson wanted the 11 model and Poots did not. What is going on? an Peter Robinson lead his party or can he not.

    The DUP tenure in DOE, as elsewhere has been disasterous from no Environmental Protection Agency, to the Seymour Sweeney Giants Causeway debacle when Arlene was minded, to this disaster and absolute waste of years of work and money over a constituency issue. Appalling.

  • Well, if there were examinations for competence to govern, we know two Ministers who would fail: Edwin Poots and Catriona Ruane.

  • Local Government Officer

    In fairness to Poots, councils have been looking for some leadership on this for the past six years. So there are some other incumbents who should take the rap too.

    The cost of £118m was never realistic. Indeed, today the Minister for Funny Lookin’ was quoting around £170m. The savings of £430-odd million over 25 years was also ridiculously small.

    We’ll roll on, and make sure that regardless of Minister, we’re fully ready for 2015. We’re well along the path now; we could have done with ONE extra year, never mind four. The current councillors have been in an extra year. This was legislated for previously. But time has come for new elections.

    Medillen notes “years of wasted work”. It’s not really. It’s a delay, but it is not a complete waste. The notion that rate payers would have had to foot the bill was ridiculous at this time of hardship. Savings will still be made and indeed are ongoing, but if anyone was daft enough to think that the lion’s share of savings would be made from this reconfiguration of councils – such as they are here in Northern Ireland – then they were severely lead up the wrong garden path.

  • Local Government Officer

    That’s a whole bucket of nonsense, Cynic and you know it.

  • The Impartial Observer

    Indeed LGO and we in DOE will also be working to that goal. The people responsible for this balls up are very high up the food chain, not the rank and file staff!

  • Drumlin Rock

    “In fairness to Poots” I would agree the musical chairs form of ministry the DUP operate is a farce and is at the root of the delay, the buck stops at the top, whether by design or just sloppyness this mess is of Robinson’s making, he should be taking the stick.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Scrap Stormont bring back Direct Rule — exactly how could it be any worse?

  • Big Maggie

    1. SDLP, Sinn Fein and Alliance ministers all voted for the 11 council model but the three DUP ministers voted against. The UUP ministers did not vote.

    2. Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs blamed the DUP and Sinn Fein for the failure to reach an agreement.

    I hear they’re inviting Mr Beggs onto the panel for the next edition of The Blame Game.

  • Mick Fealty


    Your last was automatically snaffled by WordPress because of the language you used… I suspect it will now have you on the dodgy geezer list until I have to approve you again… Try to think before you hit the send button?

  • bit rich coming from you joe seeing as though the party you support blocks reforms that would save us millions.

  • i wont take any lectures from you sonny or any other sinn feiner.I havnt a sectarian bone in my body so how dare you say use that line and accuse me of it you are the sectarian one.everybody knows the sinners wont back a reduction in MLAs or departments you need to get real and get your head out of your backside and catch yourself on.your post above is disgrace

  • Catriona Ruane is the most despicable and incompetent minster in living memory.The education stance of the sinners is a disgrace

  • joeCanuck

    Sorry, I did think but took leave of my senses. I was up in the middle of the night due to insomnia. Please re-approve me.

  • joeCanuck

    You’ve lost me there, Paul. Don’t know how you would know which party I would vote for if I had a vote. If you’re the same Paul that was around a few months ago, you got it wrong then.

  • PaddyReilly

    Not in terms of population. Merseyside and Hampshire have the same population, Kent and Essex nearly as many.

  • Artemis

    Here Here!