Council reform still fraught with difficulties
Published: 3 Oct 2013 13:000 comments
While many accept that 26 local authorities in Northern Ireland are too many to serve the population, they do feel that a reduction to 11 super councils was a step too far. A middle ground of 15 was rejected.
Now faced with an amalgamation of councils who have had little contact previously, relations are said to be restrained.
The Fermanagh and Omagh council marriage is probably one of the most hotly disputed and it’s mostly down to the geography. With such a sprawling geographical area stretching north to south from the Glenelly Valley in the Sperrins to Teemore in the south, and from Belleek in the west to Carrickmore in the east, it will require a lot of organisation.
But with a transitional committee set up to set the ground rules, there will be plenty of disputes over where the new headquarters should be sited, who will be the new chief executive and heads of departments and of course, how to soften the blow on ratepayers in Fermanagh from the debt levels currently held by Omagh Council. In this area, will there be a trade-off for the new South West Acute Hospital coming to Enniskillen and now the new Council headquarters going to Omagh?
The new intake of councillors who will be elected next May to the shadow councils which will sit alongside the current councils for a year, will have many different functions and responsibilities than at present. They will be voicing opinions for their own constituents at meetings where many more people in a much bigger area will be expecting the same attention. Certainly the role of the new councillors is not for the faint-hearted.
Of course one of the main reasons for local government reform is to save money. Ratepayers will wait impatiently for the day they will be told that the reforms have actually saved them money.
Commentscomments powered by Disqus
Get more stories from our Comment section
5 Dec 2013 13:00 • Editorial Department
Enniskillen has reached the top ten in a league that we as a community are not too proud of.
28 Nov 2013 13:00 • Editorial Department
As each anniversary of the Enniskillen Remembrance Day bomb is marked, families of the victims still cling to even the most slender hope that one day, justice will be done and their perpetrators will be sentenced.
21 Nov 2013 13:00 • Editorial Department
School communities are well used to make or break meetings deciding on their future but a meeting of the Western Education and Library Board today will seriously affect them, at least in the short to medium term.
7 Nov 2013 13:00 • Editorial Department
Businesses need all the help they can get and when it comes to marketing activity, they would all like to be part of a major TV advertising campaign.
31 Oct 2013 13:00 • Editorial Department
Independent retailers might feel they are small when it comes to their presence in towns but collectively they can have considerable influence.
24 Oct 2013 09:30 • Editorial Department
For many, the year 2013 has been eventful but also highly successful and gives many people the chance to look into the future with some optimism.
17 Oct 2013 09:30 • Editorial Department
It would be difficult not to read about Melissa Hassard’s fight in the face of terminal illness without feeling unequivocal admiration for the 26-year-old.
10 Oct 2013 13:15 • Editorial Department
Little did we think that in 2013, kind-hearted people would be setting up foodbanks to feed the needy.
26 Sep 2013 09:30 • Editorial Department
That change is on its way for our education system is hardly coming as a surprise, but the reaction of some of our schools and comunities may be.
19 Sep 2013 09:30 • Editorial Department
Just when we have become used to the state-of-the-art South West Acute Hospital and the services it provides, we could see many of these reduced and perhaps fewer staff on the wards.
12 Sep 2013 15:00 • Editorial Department
For most of its 40 years in existence, the various members of Fermanagh District Council have worked reasonably well together.
5 Sep 2013 09:30 • Editorial Department
When the Fermanagh and Omagh amalgamated council proposals were in the early stages of discussion, there were concerns over boundaries and the scale of the new geographical area.
29 Aug 2013 09:30 • Editorial Department
Actor Adrian Dunbar summed up his thoughts on the Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival after he performed a Beckett reading on Devenish Island. "They can keep the G8 --this is more like it!" he said.
22 Aug 2013 09:30 • Editorial Department
The saying goes that a prophet is without honour in his own land; and it is perhaps true that we in Fermanagh don't recognise the successes of our own people when they expand their horizons outside of their patch.
15 Aug 2013 13:00 • Editorial Department
Anyone with a fraction of an ounce of humanity and compassion will feel heart-rending sympathy for the two Reilly families so tragically bereaved.
8 Aug 2013 09:30 • Editorial Department
The amalgamation of Fermanagh and Omagh into one local government region is moving inexorably closer, as this newspaper reports this week.
1 Aug 2013 13:00 • Editorial Department
Fermanagh was making headlines months before the G8 when discovery after discovery was made by the team of archeological experts working at the Drumclay Crannog site.
25 Jul 2013 09:30 • Editorial Department
The tough economic times are difficult for everyone but latest figures show that child poverty in this county is a big problem.
18 Jul 2013 09:30 • Editorial Department
Much comparison has been made of the difference between the scenes on the "Twelfth" celebrations held in Fermanagh and Belfast. And, indeed, the contrast is stark.