The future shape of local government has moved another step closer following Executive agreement to introduce the Local Government Bill into the Assembly.
In a statement issued following the announcement, Ulster Unionist Councillor Mark McKinty, who is joint chair of the Statutory Transition Committe, which will oversee the formation of the Mid and East Antrim Council, welcomed the next step towards the reorganisation of local government.
He said “Whilst Tuesday’s announcement has been late in coming, I welcome this important announcement in the journey towards the new councils.
“The placing of the bill now gives some certainty that reorganisation will actually happen. I look forward to the weeks and months ahead as we prepare to pave the way for Larne, Carrickfergus and Ballymena Borough Councils to become the new Mid and East Antrim Council.
“For me, it is important to remember that the residents of this area are central to the whole reorganisation process, and all our future decisions should bear that in mind.
“The Review of Public Administration will see 26 Councils become 11, and it is of utmost importance that the benefit of this reorganisation is felt on the ground.
“Residents must benefit from joined-up government and ultimately receive better services and value for money.
“Only by putting residents first will reorganisation be a success, and I will continue to work on Larne Borough Council and the Statutory Transition Committee to ensure that the needs and welfare of our citizens are top of any agenda”
Environment Minister SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan added: “This is the next major step in the legislative process that will make local government reform a reality.
“The Bill provides the legislative basis for reform that will impact on every aspect of the operation of councils. This includes how decisions are made, how responsibility is shared across political parties, how improvements in the delivery of council functions can be achieved to reflect the needs of local communities and effective and efficient delivery of council services.