Dickson appointed to key local government reform group

Alliance East Antrim MLA, Stewart Dickson, has been appointed to the Political Reference Group established by the Minister of the Environment, which is part of the Local Government Reform Programme.

The group, which will meet later this year, is part of the oversight arrangements for the transition from 26 to 11 Councils in Northern Ireland.

Mr Dickson, who will be joined by his Alliance Party colleague and former Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Tom Ekin, said that he is delighted to represent his party on the group.

He said: “Through the re-organisation of local government there is a chance to provide more efficient services and deliver enhanced value for money for rate-payers.

“This must be balanced against the need to reflect local communities and geography, facilitate civic pride and provide citizens with ready access to local, democratically elected decision-makers.

“I will also work to ensure that local government reform contributes to bringing about a cohesive, shared and integrated society, where people are safe, have ample opportunities, and are treated fairly and with respect.

Mr Dickson concluded: “Sectarianism should have no place in local government and, indeed, in our wider society. Tom and I will work hard to ensure that sharing and fairness in the allocation of positions of responsibility are mandatory in the new arrangements.”

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