Derry Electoral Office could close

Derry's Electoral Office is under threat of closure.
Derry's Electoral Office is under threat of closure.

Staff at Derry’s Electoral Office on Queen Street will be balloted for industrial action today (Tuesday), in response to management proposals to close the Derry office and move its functions to Belfast.

Under the plans, which would see closures across the North, it’s understood six jobs in Derry would be affected, while services including voter registration and outreach work in schools, would move to Belfast.

Management within the Electoral Office have indicated that the proposals are driven by reduced funding from the Northern Ireland Office with over 25 per cent having been lost since 2010 and a further reduction of 17 per cent proposed by 2020.

NIPSA representative Dooley Harte has slammed the move as nothing more than what he described as the diluting local services.

Mr Harte said: “How much is our democracy worth? These proposals will not lead to a better service, in fact exactly the opposite. Voter registration will now be done online despite over 800,000 voters being lost when online registration was introduced in England. Electoral Identity services will go to Belfast and there will be little or no outreach services in schools. And our political representatives will have travel to Belfast to nominate for elections.”

“The closure of offices will mean a reduction in services and the loss of jobs. NIPSA calls on Northern Ireland Office to review its funding of the Electoral Office. We call on management to conduct a full accommodation review to properly consider options proposed by NIPSA to co-locate electoral services into local council offices. And we call on our political representatives to stand up and protect the election services they rely upon.”