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SDLP: parish councils key to local government reform

By Liam Clarke

Published 03/01/2012

The SDLP is demanding a new system of community parish councils to make local government reform more acceptable.

They would replace existing community groups.

“We need a council for between 3,000 and 5,000 people,” said party leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell.

He proposes that the new elected bodies or five or six members each would not be separately funded but could apply for grants from the larger district councils. “It wouldn’t be a layer of paid government,” he said. “It would be more like a formalised community group. Instead of multiple self-appointed community groups you would have bodies people could vote for using the electoral roll.”

The Programme for Government commits the Executive to cutting the present 26 local councils down to 11.

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