Alliance Party Deputy Leader, Stephen Farry, has expressed significant concerns at the Final Recommendations published by the Boundary Commission, and focused on the distortions for the rest of Northern Ireland that arise from unjustified persistence with a four seat Belfast model.
Stephen Farry said: “There are major problems at these Final Recommendations. An increasingly unwarranted obsession with having four seats based around the city of Belfast brings significant knock-on implications across Northern Ireland. This is particularly marked in the wider Greater Belfast area with a lack of coherence and cohesion in the proposals, leading to natural communities and geographical areas being split up.
“Mid Down is a particularly weird and bizarre construction, anchored at two ends by Newtownards and Banbridge. Elsewhere the City of Lisburn is detached from much of its natural hinterland as in the case with Antrim. Holywood is cut in two.
“Alliance also has considerable concerns over the process that has been adopted. There were very significant changes made in the Revised Proposals from the original Provisional Proposals, but now in the Final Recommendations the Commission has been very reluctant to make any changes, just citing the difficulty of fixing problems that they created in the first place. This is essentially and notably their narrative in relation to Mid-Down.”