Brexit – NILGA Puts The Case For Local Communities And Councils
The Northern Ireland Local Government Association is taking the case to London, Dublin and Brussels regarding assurances around the outcomes of the UK Referendum on the EU.
NILGA’s President, Councillor Seán McPeake, a Mid Ulster District Council Councillor, will participate in three key Brexit related platforms over the next week.
Speaking in advance of the week long engagements, the NILGA President, Cllr Seán McPeake, said:
“At tomorrow`s meeting (Friday 17th February) of the- All-Island Civic Forum in Dublin Castle, at the Tuesday 21st February briefing with the Brexit EU Minister David Jones MP in Westminster, along with Local Government Associations` of England, Scotland and Wales and at the Friday 24th February Centre for Centre Cross Border Studies Conference on Brexit in Armagh, NILGA’s message will be consistent and clear. Local government and local communities have a vital role to play in getting to grips with how we deal with Brexit, and must have opportunities to bring their knowledge, and answers, to the table.”
NILGA’s work will include ensuring local councils are central to the outcomes as they unfold. The Association’s position includes the following:
- Councils here must be materially involved in the National & Regional Level negotiations regarding post 2020 and have parity of representation with councils from neighbouring jurisdictions in all aspects of EU referendum outcomes which affect local communities and citizens.
- Councils must also be materially involved in National and Regional Level negotiations regarding post 2020 investment planning and the “repatriation” of regulations and laws coming from Brussels.
- Ensure that cross border cultural, economic, strategic and capital projects by councils and important trade and sectoral schemes such as agriculture, agri-food, fisheries and energy security are invested in, to sustain & protect trade, enterprise, technology, infrastructure and community relations work at local level.
- Recognise Local Need: Councils are working collectively to draw together and present work, now well underway, regarding Socio Economic Impact data to validate crucial investment, social cohesion & cross border actions in advance of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty being triggered. Further work will be commissioned, integrated and utilised as the situation evolves, and NILGA wants similar material shared between all levels of government.
- Between now and 2020, like Scotland and Wales, NILGA seeks a £250 million NI council led Net Alternative Growth Fund, for a five-year period to 2025, signed off within the NI Executive’s Programme for Government period (2017 – 2020), which future proofs current EU investment invested in by councils & their partners around local jobs, entrepreneurship, mitigating against geographical peripherality, rural and urban disadvantage, inequality and lack of access to services together with investing in local infrastructure; and
- Ensure that peace building and reconciliation is maintained at local, citizen based levels.
In closing, Cllr McPeake added: “Notwithstanding the situation pre and post Assembly Elections, we have a duty to put the case for and communicate with local communities across the piece. This is a crucial area of work, NILGA and Councils within the North of Ireland can fulfil this and other roles, provided they are included and are properly resourced, in the challenging period ahead”.