Parties United on Quangos

Article excerpt

A Call for the return of real power and influence to locally-elected politicians led to a rare example of cross-chamber agreement on the floor of the Forum yesterday.

The demand of a restoration of powers to local government was almost complete as parties condemned years of what was termed Ulster's "democractic defecit".

Debating a Government review of the role of quangos in the Province, parties welcomed an opportunity to air their grievances on the non-elected authorities that govern much of daily life in the Province from the Fire Service to the health and education boards.

Top of the list of concerns were the unaccountability and secrecy of many organisations, the cost of sustaining them and the role of the Eire government in selecting and approving appointees.

There was also criticism of the distribution of places among the Province's elected representatives when DUP secretary Nigel Dodds attacked the lack of recognition given to the DUP on bodies such as the Police Authority for Northern Ireland and suggested changing party might the best option. …