The switch to seven super councils would have meant the effective repartition of Northern Ireland, the DUP said today.
Peter Weir, a vice-president of the councils' umbrella body, said unionists in the west of the province had faced "unfettered" republican control under the Direct Rule blueprint.
With the proposal out for consultation, the DUP MLA - also a former president of the Northern Ireland Local Government Association -indicated reduction of the current 26 councils to seven is increasingly unlikely. His comments came as a conference today examined the review of public administration and the role of unelected quangos.
Mr Weir said as promised by his party, devolution has ensured a reconsideration of Government plans to effectively repartition Northern Ireland under a seven super-council model.
"The restructuring of local councils, under such a model, would have isolated unionists in the west of the Province and placed them under the unfettered control of republicans," the north Down MLA argued.
"Through devolution the DUP has ensured that this matter is subject to review. We will continue to work towards a solution which will be for the benefit of Northern Ireland plc."
Meanwhile, today marked the first time that the annual conference of the public administration committee of the Joint University Council - the body that represents UK public administration and management - will be held in Northern Ireland.
The three-day event is being hosted by the School of Policy Studies of the University of Ulster, whose professor, Paul Carmichael, said it brought together the worlds of theory and practice. "As this is the first time that the event is being held in Northern Ireland, we are keen to explore the developing impact of devolution of policy and administration in the different parts of the UK, " he added.