SUPER-SIZE 7; How Ulster's 26 Councils Will Merge into New Political Map
Byline: By MAURICE FITZMAURICE
THIS is the new political map of Northern Ireland which will be unveiled today.
It shows seven super-councils to replace the current 26 local, district, borough and city councils.
The super-councils will look after bins, rates and leisure just like the present councils, which were created in 1973.
But authorities hope bigger councils will mean fewer staff are needed - but it's unlikely that will lead to lower rates.
It's bad news for politicians as more than 200 local councillors will be axed in the new set-up.
The seven councils - unveiled by Secretary of State Peter Hain this morning - will cause a political storm. One source said: "It's a balancing act to make sure nationalists and unionists are relatively equal.
"So three of the super-councils will have a nationalist majority and three will have a unionist majority.
"The seventh - an unchanged Belfast City Council - will remain evenly balanced."
Each council will have 50 councillors - a drop on the present 582 councillors.
But yesterday sources close to the Review of Public Administration, which is overseeing the changes, said cutting councils back to seven will lead to a "Balkanisation" of Ulster.
Dungannon's Sinn Fein Mayor Francie Molloy added there will be "an obvious split of three green councils, three orange and the Alliance Party holding the balance of power in Belfast".
A leading member of the Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA) said: "You'll have nationalists trapped in unionist councils and unionists trapped in nationalist councils.
"They say there will be …
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Publication information: Article title: SUPER-SIZE 7; How Ulster's 26 Councils Will Merge into New Political Map. Contributors: Not available. Newspaper title: The Mirror (London, England). Publication date: November 22, 2005. Page number: 11. © 2009 MGN LTD. COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group.
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