Only one Larne chair on MEA committees

Councillor Gordon Lyons.  INLT 12-681-CON
Councillor Gordon Lyons. INLT 12-681-CON

Only one of the new MEA supercouncil’s 12 committee chairmanships and vice-chairmanships is to be held by a Larne representative.

The revelation came as MEA council released details of its new appointments to the six committees which have responsibility for distinct areas of council business from April 1.

In total, eight of the 12 committee chairs and vice-chairs hail from the Ballymena, three from Carrick and only one from Larne.

Those from Ballymena are: Policy and Resources Committee Chair Cllr Tommy Nicholl; Economic Growth and Development Committee Chair Cllr Audrey Wales; Community Planning Committee Chair Cllr Paul Maguire and Vice-Chair Cllr Patrice Hardy; Planning Committee Vice-Chair Cllr Stephen Nicholl; Operational Committee Vice-Chair Cllr Beth Adger; Audit and Scrutiny Committee Chair Cllr Robin Cherry and Vice-Chair Cllr Donna Anderson.

Carrickfergus Councillors heading committees are Economic Growth and Development Committee Vice Chair Cllr Jim Brown, Policy and Resources Committee Vice-Chair Cllr Paul Sinclair, and Operational Committee Chair Cllr D. Andrew Wilson.

Meanwhile, Chair of the Planning Committee Cllr Robert Logan, who represents Larne Lough, will be the sole local representative to hold a position of responsibility.

Carrickfergus councillor Billy Ashe has been appointed as the first Mayor of MEA Council, with Ballymena Councillor Timothy Gaston as the first Deputy Mayor.

However, DUP Coast Road Councillor Gordon Lyons, who was chair of MEA’s shadow Planning Committee, says that local representatives who sit on each committee will “ensure that the voice of Larne will be heard in the new council.”

He commented: “It is important to remember that a Chairman chairs the committee meeting and the committees make the decisions. Chairs and Vice-chairs will change every year. I sit on the planning committee with Larne Councillors Paul Reid and Robert Logan, which is very important.

“On the Economic Growth and Development Committee there is myself plus Larne Councillors McKeen, McKinty, Morrow, Wilson, Logan and McKeown. If there is a slight under-representation this year in terms of chairmanships it is up to representatives to make sure they are effective advocates for their area.”