Mid Ulster out in the cold for civil service hubs

A Sinn Fein councillor has said she is disappointed Mid Ulster has been overlooked as a potential location for a civil service hub.

Monday, 1st March 2021, 3:05 pm

In February, Finance Minister, Conor Murphy MLA announced plans for hubs that will allow civil servants to be based closer to home and promote regional economic balance.

The first two hubs expected to open are in Ballykelly and Downpatrick and plans are in place for additional hubs to open in Ballymena, Craigavon, Omagh and the Antrim/Newtownabbey area next year.

Additional sites in Londonderry, Enniskillen, Newry and the Bangor/Newtownards area are planned for 2023.

Magherafelt town centre.

At February’s meeting of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Niamh Doris questioned why there were no locations in Mid Ulster included in the proposed roll out.

“I was disappointed to see there was nowhere in Mid Ulster included on that list,” said Cllr Doris.

“It is a really good opportunity for the revival of town centres across Mid Ulster.

“I was just looking to check with Council officers if there has been any update on this or if there is something I am missing as to why Mid Ulster is not on the list?”

Council’s Chair, Councillor Cathal Mallaghan said he was in contact with the Chief Executive immediately and asked him to carry out a site search to identify suitable property in Mid Ulster to put forward to the Department of Finance for future consideration.

Council’s Chief Executive, Adrian McCreesh said:  “We were as surprised by the announcement as everybody else but you win some and you lose some.

“We felt that given our strategic geographical location as the centre of everywhere we thought we would have been a perfect location.

“Rather than simply going back to the department and complaining, we are doing an analysis of the availability of public space across Mid Ulster and we put that into the civil service for consideration and will make as strong a case as we possibly can.”

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