Alliance Councillor Geraldine Rice has said Peter Robinson lacks the credibility to talk about financial responsibility in the Assembly, after the explosion of Castlereagh Council’s ‘rates timebomb’.
Responding to Mr Robinson’s claims that householders in Northern Ireland could see their rates double over the next five years, the prospective Alliance candidate for South Belfast said that while there was a need for greater efficiency in Government, the DUP solution would be to sell it off.
Cllr Rice said: “The legacy of DUP financial policy in Castlereagh Council has been lost jobs, closed facilities and the sale of valuable public amenities. This year, the DUP has been so ‘accountable’ that the Borough can’t even afford a fireworks display, and all but one of the Christmas tree lighting ceremonies are cancelled.
“Not even Scrooge could cancel both Christmas and Hallowe’en.
“There are other questions yet to be answered about why Mr Robinson is so anxious to get rid of our public amenities, and why unionists on the Council want Hydebank playing fields sold off so quickly. There are virtually no community facilities in Castlereagh south and west.
“Earlier this year, Alliance was part of a campaign which had massive local public support to keep the Robinson Centre open. The DUP wanted to close it just before the summer holidays. Now there aren’t even enough playgrounds for the DUP to tie up swings on a Sunday.
“The public gave the DUP the red card over Hydebank and their proposals to close the Robinson Leisure Centre pools sank like a stone. Low rates are all very well, but at last people are beginning to ask – at what cost? A quick buck at the public’s expense has been the DUP’s financial strategy in Castlereagh. To me, that is not a price worth paying.”