Thursday 30 March 2017 03:31:54 AM

Straney Says Councils Elections are Most Important In Forty Years
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Alistair Straney, NI21 Aspire for Better Council candidate in Rowallane, has said that the new powers Councils are receiving makes this election the most important council election in forty years, claiming local communities cannot afford to vote for the tired tribal politics of the past.

Alistair Straney standing in the local government election in the Slieve Croob District Electoral Area.

Alistair Straney standing in the local government election in the Slieve Croob District Electoral Area.

In an election statement, Mr Straney said: “Local Government is the closest level of government to the community. It is in the position to identify community needs and to make sure those needs are met in the most appropriate way. In Northern Ireland Councils are changing… 26 Councils will be turned into 11 by 2015.

“The 11 new councils will be given additional powers over planning, urban regeneration, housing, economic development and tourism.

“However, there are risks involved. NI21 has warned against the dangers of devolving the dysfunctional and divisive politics of the Northern Ireland Assembly to our new councils.

“Councils work best when they are firmly rooted in the community, however, Local Government in Northern Ireland has historically fostered some of our most divisive and sectarian politics.

If more powers are placed into a divided and dysfunctional arena, local communities and community relations could suffer.

“People also have to ask if the current crop of Councillors is good enough to deal with powers over planning, urban regeneration and economic development.

“This is why we need fresh positive faces in local government; people focused on representing the entire community to deliver for the common good.”