Belfast Telegraph

Local councils to be reduced to 11

The number of local councils in Northern Ireland will fall to 11 by 2015, it has been revealed.

The ministerial Executive has agreed on a shake-up which will give the larger organisations greater powers.

Efforts to reduce the 26 councils failed during the last mandate because of issues like the placing of Dunmurry within any new body.

First Minister Peter Robinson welcomed the agreement.

"That puts to rest an issue that has dogged us for a very long period of time," he said.

"We have reached agreement based around the 11 council model and should see some power going to local government.

"With a reduced number of councils that should provide us with economies of scale that will in the long term be helpful."

The new councils will be established in shadow form under the Reform of Public Administration alongside the existing bodies from 2014 and will become operational the following year.

Discussions on the new councils during the last mandate had anticipated handing them powers like economic development.

It will be up to local government minister Alex Attwood to progress matters.

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From Belfast Telegraph