Changes to local councils in Northern Ireland will mean an end to ‘nationalist rule’ in Limavady, according to local MP Gregory Campbell.
The council in Limavady is soon to be amalgamated with Coleraine, Ballymoney and Moyle as part of the changes.
East Londonderry DUP MP Gregory Campbell believes all unionists should support the proposed changes because it will place Limavady in the heart of a unionist stronghold. He hit out this week at 12 unionist MLAs who voted against the proposed reform of local government, saying “there is no excuse for Unionists voting against new Council boundaries which will assist Unionists in the whole of the Limavady Council area. There isn’t another complete Council area which moves from Unionist control to Nationalist control”.
Mr Campbell singled out TUV Leader Jim Allister for extra criticism, saying: “The TUV leader Jim Allister must be singled out for specific criticism as I offered him the chance in the debate to clarify his position, and instead he kept digging deeper, actually saying that the existing 26 Councils are ‘marginally preferable’ to the new 11 Council Bill.
“How any Unionist, let alone one who has presented himself as some sort of Unionist conscience in the Assembly, could say that Nationalist rule with Sinn Féin as their largest Party is marginally preferable to Unionist rule is beyond comprehension. For the Ulster Unionists to vote in the same way also beggars belief, it is to be hoped that Limavady representatives of both these Parties will make their views known as it will be difficult for them to present themselves in the new Council elections as strong Unionists after their Parties at Stormont tried to keep their Unionist voters in a Republican dominated Council.”
Stormont MLAs last week debated the ‘Local Government Bill’ which will change both the nature and boundaries of local council arrangements in Northern Ireland. There are a number of changes, including the transfer of greater powers to the new councils, but perhaps the most significant change will be the new boundaries. The number of councils will be reduced from 26 to 11.
In Limavady, this means that Limavady Borough Council will no longer exist, and a new ‘Causeway Coast and Glens’ council will replace it - stretching from Greysteel in County Londonderry all the way along the North Coast beyond Cushendall in County Antrim.
DUP MP Gregory Campbell believes the changes will mean that there will be “unionist rule” in the new council, rather than the current situation in Limavady where nationalists have an overall majority and Sinn Féin are the largest single party.