JONES: Time to develop single tier authority arrangements for NI


Jones says it is time to develop new single tier authority arrangements for the proper governance of Northern Ireland 
Councillor David Jones of UKIP has said he believes that the government will need to look at new arrangements for the governance of Northern Ireland. 

“It is not simply a question of giving out some of Stormont’s powers to local councils as an interim measure. It goes well beyond that. Two things are clear. First Sinn Fein’s departure from the Executive, with Martin McGuinness’s promise that there will be no return to the status quo, marks the abandonment of the power sharing strategy which has been operational since 1998. 

Second, it is quite clear that the three weeks allocated for negotiations to form an Executive after these pointless elections, will fail – which is a betting certainty, This will lead to an indefinite period of suspension for Stormont. That is where the smart money is.” 

“Add into this mix the certainty of a hard Brexit, with a harder border and the huge pressures coming on the Irish Republic from higher EU contributions, the unfolding EU drama of Google’s and other’s tax schemes, President Trump’s vow to ‘bring the jobs home to the US,’ and you may well have a perfect political and economic storm in the Irish Republic with a movement developing to take the Irish Republic out of the EU and join the UK in some ‘Council of the Isles’ arrangement”

“This will be no temporary blip. To my mind, government will have to put new permanent governance arrangements in place for Northern Ireland which may well take the form of a single tier authority with politically neutral architecture, more focussed on the efficient delivery of devolved services and money than the sterile, endless political squabbles, inefficiency and inaction which has characterised Stormont. 

There may be different variations on this theme with, for instance, a ‘Greater Belfast Metropolitan Authority’ incorporating Lisburn and Castlereagh, Newtownabbey and Glengormley, Holywood and Carrickfergus and other localities, possibly with a directly elected Mayor.”

“It’s time people smelt the coffee and worked for new structures which can deliver better government for Northern Ireland. The model of devolution should be people-centred and delivery-focussed rather than the Ruritanian pretend-parliament that Stormont had become, filled with hot air and self-importance.”

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