Fears that Magherafelt will be the ‘Cinderella’ in new super-council

The new Mid Ulster Super-council met for the first time in Dungannon on Thursday night.
The new Mid Ulster Super-council met for the first time in Dungannon on Thursday night.

Concerns have been raised that Magherafelt will be the Cinderella of the new Mid-Ulster super council.

They were raised after Sinn Fein - the majority party on the new council securing 18 of the 40 seats - proposed Dungannon to host full meetings for the coming ‘shadow’ year.

Ulster Unionist Party councillor George Shiels yesterday said Magherafelt district could lose out if councillors from the Cookstown and Dungannon areas “formed a cabal”.

He said he warned three years ago that Magherafelt ratepayers could see their rates increase without noticing an improvement in services..

SDLP councillor Jim Campbell, who didn’t stand for election to the new council, said it was up to Magherafelt councillors to form a legion to ensure the district was not sidelined.

He said there is a danger that all the departments, including the venue for meetings, would gravitate towards the middle of the new council area.

“I have always been fearful that Magherafelt would be left as the Cinderella of the three council areas,” he said.

Sinn Fein’s Brian McGuigan said councillors should stop thinking in terms of the Magherafelt, Cookstown and Dungannon areas and focus on what was best for all the people of the Mid-Ulster area.

Councillor McGuigan was of the opinion that Magherafelt would not be left out when departments such as planning and are being decided.

“The departments will be spread throughout the Mid-Ulster council area and I believe they will work once everything beds down,” he added.

DUP councillor Anne Forde said she and her colleagues would ensure Magherafelt was not sidelined in the super council.