Mid Ulster Council won’t sell off any premises after districts merge

Dungannon Council offices
Dungannon Council offices

Mid Ulster Council won’t be selling off any of its premises in the aftermath of the merger between Dungannon, Cookstown and Magherafelt.

The announcement came after the Minister for the Environment, Mark H Durkan, urged the new super councils to maximise the use of their estate and cut costs.

Presiding Chair of the council, Cathal Mallaghan said the council was looking at ways to ensure it was making the very most of what it had.

“We are currently auditing the Council Estate and any proposals or recommendations arising from this will be brought to the relevant committee,” he said.

However, he added that there were no vacant premises, in spite of the three council districts of Dungannon, Cookstown and Magherafelt joining up, and that there were no plans to sell any offices.

UUP Councillor Walter Cuddy said that it was difficult to see if there would be any spare capacity in the council’s premises, in spite of the fact that eight senior staff will be leaving and more to follow.

He predicted that at most 15 or 16 staff will be leaving their posts and vacating offices.

“In most cases it will be a case of everyone moving up the table to fill the vacant senior posts.

“It’s true that there was some spare capacity at the Magherafelt council buildings, but this will be filled by the 40 planning staff that will relocate there from Omagh”, he said.

Speaking at the Northern Ireland Assembly, Minister Durkan said: “I have encouraged the new councils to be ambitious in how they can maximise the use of their estate to cut costs, whilst maintaining the levels of service that ratepayers deserve.”

Dungannon based councillor Mr Cuddy added that Mid Ulster District Council had to keep a presence in all three of the former districts.

He also said that he also hoped that Dungannon’s council building would become the flagship building for the new Mid Ulster Council area.

“We are the biggest town in the Mid Ulster,” he said, “so it only makes sense that we should be the seat of the new council.”