Power sharing again rejected by Carrick Council

Carrickfergus Alliance Party Group Leader, Councillor Noel Williams, has criticised the DUP and UUP after they chose to ignore a power sharing agenda at the Council AGM. Speaking after the meeting Councillor Williams highlighted his disappointment, adding the local authority was failing to represent ratepayers who voted for non-DUP Councillors.

He said: “As we progress towards the amalgamation of Carrickfergus, Ballymena and Larne Councils into the Mid & East Antrim Council, one might have expected the DUP and UUP to have taken a lead from their neighbouring Councils of Larne and Ballymena and shared responsibility. One could also have expected someone who chaired the Mid & East Antrim Voluntary Transition Committee (Alderman W Ashe) to demonstrate leadership by sharing power with his local colleagues, as he will have to in the new larger Super Council.

“I hope that the actions of the UUP will serve as a lesson to their voters that when they vote UUP, they actually get DUP. In return for joining up to the DUP-led coalition, the UUP have only received two meaningful appointments in return; that of Deputy Mayor and one Chairmanship of a Standing Committee.

“The UUP Group Leader

has of course maintained a paid Chairmanship for himself (Environmental Services), whilst one of his UUP colleagues had to make way and step down from his Chairmanship (Building Services).

“It will of course be very clear to those ratepayers who voted for non-DUP Councillors that they are not being properly represented in the Council leadership as a result of DUP obstinance and UUP incompetence.

“During my first year in Council, I have attended almost every Council meeting, Standing Committee and Sub-Committee of Council. During the latter meetings members usually work closely in a business-like manner. Unfortunately, when it comes to working together and sharing Chairmanship responsibility at Standing Committee or full Council, it is simply a financial and power-grab by the Democratic and Ulster Unionists as they divvy up the senior offices.

“The DUP and UUP leaderships have spoken on several occasions about the need for full and comprehensive power-sharing. The performance the two parties put on for visits, like the one we had last week from President Obama, is nothing more than a façade covering the lack of true substance and commitment when it comes to power-sharing at a local level across the province. One only has to look at Carrickfergus, Castlereagh and Antrim Councils to corroborate that reality.

“As a Group Leader, I made several attempts to discuss the possibility of power-sharing with my counterparts on the Council. Whilst I secured positive engagement from the Independent Group, I had no meaningful response whatsoever from the leaders of the Democratic-Ulster Unionist coalition.

“It really is a sad inditement that the leaders of the DUP and UUP groups on Council would not even enter discussions in such an important area.

“The elections for the new Super Council will be on May 22, 2014. I say to anyone reading this that it will really be ‘decision time’ then – it is crucial that those who want to see us rise above the visionless leadership currently on offer in Carrickfergus, come out and vote for Alliance Party candidates who want to move society forward in order that our children and grandchildren will live in an inclusive, cohesive and integrated community.

“Rate payers ought to take a good look at their civic leaders and ask themselves if they are happy with the status quo. Its time for change; only the electorate can make that happen. If you remember nothing else, be sure that here in Carrickfergus, if you – ‘Always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got’.”

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