At best, the proposed new councils will miss the original deadline of May 2011, and the local elections next year will be to the existing 26 bodies. At worst, the 11 new councils will never materialise.This blog already noted that the plan was heading for the rocks six months ago – but on 20 May the Minister responsible, Edwin Poots of the DUP, ‘refused to confirm that the plan would go ahead’
This blog has never been a fan of the proposal, and considers that it would have represented more of a loss than a gain for nationalism. As this blog said on 26 January 2009:
Sinn Féin could have blocked the change to the 11-Council model, by insisting on a cross-community vote. But they did not, and acquiesced to the DUP's proposal.It seems that nationalist councillors agree with this blog:
By so doing, they actually reduced both the area and the population of the districts that would have come under nationalist control, and consigned a greater number of nationalists to life under unionist political domination.
In Ballymena, the sole Sinn Fein member, Monica Digney, said: “The whole thing was a damp squib from the start – far too ambitious and too difficult to achieve.Amen.
On the North Coast, the SDLP’s John Dallat (formerly of Coleraine Borough Council) said: “It’s just as well it’s dying on its feet. It was a massive form of gerrymandering and I’m surprised that Sinn Fein fell for it in the first place. We were supposed to merge with Moyle, Limavady and Ballymoney which was much too ungainly. Let’s hope it withers on the vine.”