A number of key decision and policy makers representing local authorities, government departments and partner agencies held a strategic meeting in Omagh today (25 May 2018) to examine the role of Councils in delivering positive change locally.
The ‘Driving Government Locally Summit’, organised by the Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA) and supported by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, brought together elected members, Council officials and representatives from partner organisations to discuss and share ideas on how local government can drive policy reform, the economy and community wealth, in the absence of a functioning Stormont Executive.
Speaking about the conference, Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Stephen McCann, said:
“Fermanagh and Omagh District Council was delighted to work in partnership with NILGA to host this important summit in the Fermanagh and Omagh district.
The summit provided an opportunity for decision makers and those involved in policy development to hear from high level speakers from government, industry and academia on a range of issues. The speakers helped to inform discussions and to challenge thinking among the delegates on the ever-increasing role of local councils in delivering on the NI Executive’s Programme for Government which aims to deliver real and positive change for our citizens both now and well into the future.
I welcomed the opportunity to participate in and listen to the discussions on the new ways of thinking, and on how local Councils can add further value to promote quality of life for our residents.”
The event was chaired by broadcaster and journalist, Mark Carruthers. Prof Neil Gibson, E&Y Ireland, delivered the keynote address which stimulated a lively discussion and debate among delegates on how Councils can best deliver on economic change within their local areas. Breakout sessions provided an opportunity for delegates to develop principles for economic, environmental and community cohesion policy post Brexit.
NILGA Vice President, Alderman Freda Donnelly said:
“We know that councils have the ability, capacity and civic appetite to do more to deliver for their local areas. In the absence of a legislative assembly, uncertainty in decision-making, pressure on public services and the challenges posed by Brexit, local government must be given the tools and resources to grow sustainable local economies”.