Nicholl: Council should not take July holiday

Alliance Councillor Kate Nicholl has called for Belfast City Council to meet over July, and not take its normal summer break, a move she says is essential in this time of crisis.

Kate made the formal request of the Chief Executive on Wednesday, and the issue will now be debated by the Group Party Leaders forum – where the DUP and Sinn Féin have consistently resisted Alliance calls for meetings to return sooner than the planned August date.

She said: “Belfast is now the only Council in Northern Ireland that won’t be meeting ahead of this self-imposed August date and it is simply not good enough to allow Council business to take place behind closed doors until the DUP and Sinn Féin see fit otherwise.

“It is very unlikely that we will have moved through all stages of the Executive’s lockdown easing plan by this summer and the on-going pressures from this pandemic will be continuing to impact all aspects of everyday life for all of us.

“As Councillors we must be able to retain the lines of communication at this difficult time, yet we have been forced to have a break from meetings by those who are quite happy with how things are progressing, we should not then be rewarded by another break in July.

“It’s time to give the decision making powers on everyday issues back to elected representatives, leaving this until August is simply not acceptable.”