Long: Castlereagh Unionist Councillor’s must see sense after intervention from Environment Minister over STC Committee

Councillor Michael Long has revealed the Environment Minister, Mark H. Durkan, has written to inform him he has contacted Castlereagh Borough Council asking them to review their nominations to the Belfast Statutory Transition Committee. In the letter Minister Durkan states that the ‘democratic process should be adhered to’ and nominations…..allocated on the basis of proportionality’,

Minister Durkan also revealed to Councillor Long he has requested Castlereagh Council compile an urgent written report after guidance from his predecessor was ignored by Unionist Councillors, who opted to select a DUP and UUP member instead of a DUP and Alliance member for the committee that will help oversee the merger of the two Council groups under RPA.

Councillor Michael Long said: “Alliance has made it clear Unionists in Castlereagh will not be allowed to simply ignore democracy to suit their own agenda. Despite believing they can control everything without any questions, the voters must be respected and the correct protocol followed for the nominations to the Belfast Statutory Transition Committee.

“On direct orders from Minister Durkan, Castlereagh Council must now produce a report detailing its decision with regards to the nominations to Belfast Statutory Transition Committee. Not only this, but the Minister has also urged the nominations of the DUP and UUP Councillors be reviewed.

“RPA will mean big changes for how all local governments operate. We cannot allow tribal politics to form part of this system. From the start Castlereagh Council should have selected a DUP and Alliance nominee as the previous Minister, Alex Attwood, had recommended.

“If we fail to see a change of heart from Unionist Councillors, I hope the Minister will intervene but hopefully sense will prevail when the position is reviewed at the Council this week.”

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