Long blasts DUP’s failure to support openness and transparency

Alliance Councillor Michael Long has said he is not surprised the DUP tried to halt plans to record meetings of the 11 new Councils, after Unionists constantly voted against similar plans in Castlereagh.

The Castlereagh Councillor was speaking after Alliance successfully secured amendments to the Local Government Bill designed to increase openness and transparency when the new Councils come into existence – including the audio recording of full Council meetings and publishing papers and minutes online.

Councillor Michael Long said: “I welcome this move which marks a new era of openness for local government – something the DUP has long fought to avoid in Castlereagh.

“I’m not surprised the DUP was the only party to vote against these amendments, as its Councillors in Castlereagh have continually fought to stop meetings there becoming more open to the public.

“In Castlereagh it took years of campaigning by Alliance before Council minutes were published online and over the past year calls for meetings to be recorded have been defeated on two separate occasions.

“I believe everyone should be able to hold their public representatives to account and have access to up-to-date and relevant information. This move signals the new Councils will be open institutions and not afraid of scrutiny from the general public.”

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