Published 28 September 2012 @ 16:03
As the second largest party following the 2011 elections, the Sinn Fein Party now holds the Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA) presidency for the term 2012/13. The Sinn Fein Office Bearer representative on NILGA, Councillor Seán McPeake was therefore appointed NILGA President at the NILGA Annual General Meeting today (Friday 28th September 2012), in Lissanoure Castle, Loughgiel, Ballymoney.
In his presidential address, Cllr McPeake said:
“I am delighted to take on the Presidency of NILGA at what is a massively challenging crossroads for local government. The sector is faced with numerous critical issues, from finance to legislation, from increased service demands to regulatory demands, but with these challenges come massive opportunities. NILGA will deliver on every bit of its work plan.
A huge amount needs to be done in order to support the delivery of local government reform, but this sector has never been afraid of putting solutions on the table and doing hard work linked to a strong vision.
Councils and Councillors, I encourage you to drive the reform agenda in your districts, working together and through NILGA. The sector is here for local councils, local people and local communities – they come first and must drive what we do. Unity is strength”.
Environment Minister Alex Attwood, who made an opening address at the NILGA Annual General Meeting, said:
“I wish to congratulate Cllr McPeake on his appointment as President of NILGA. I look forward to working with him in his new role on local government matters, but particularly in driving forward the local government reform programme.
“The reform of local government is progressing. The boundaries of the 11 new councils are now approved by the Assembly and I have established a number of implementation structures to drive the programme and deliver the work required.
“I’m also taking forward other necessary legislation required to set the structures for the new councils; the next piece of which will be introduced to the Assembly this autumn.
“We’re moving into a critical implementation phase. Today's event is another important opportunity to engage with local government – to communicate developments in the reform programme, to hear feedback first hand from Councillors and to work ever more closely with the sector in this joint enterprise. I will continue to engage with Councillors to ensure that they are kept informed of reform decisions impacting on their council areas, and to ensure that preparations continue at both a local and regional level to effectively deliver the programme.”
In closing, Cllr McPeake, thanked his fellow Officers Bearers, Cllr Evelyne Robinson (DUP), Ald Arnold Hatch (UUP), Cllr Dermot Curran (SDLP) and Ald Tom Ekin (Alliance) for their support and encouraged their ongoing commitment as NILGA Office Bearers for the year ahead.