‘We’re staying put at Queen Street’ - McVea

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The Chief Electoral Officer, Virginia McVea, has confirmed Derry’s electoral office in Queen Street is going nowhere despite the recent erection of ‘to let’ adverts.

Ms. McVea, who took up post in February, also acknowledged political developments had slammed a brake on a rolling restructuring process within the Electoral Office of Northern Ireland (EONI).

In the meantime EONI has extended its lease in the city centre.

“The lease was due to come to an end but we have now extended that for a year. We are not moving in the short term,” said Ms. McVea.

The electoral office boss said that while the results of a public consultation on a number of restructuring options - including the closure of the Derry office - were due in February, the late Martin McGuinness’ resignation and Theresa May’s snap general election postponed the process.

“Life has been very unpredictable since, with elections,” she said.

“In February, the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) were due to publish a response to the public consultation but obviously events had moved on.

“When you go into that pre-election period [purdah]you can’t do any of that kind of business, anything that could potentially affect the election.

“Then as soon as we’re out of that we’re into another pre-election period.

“I don’t know what word you’d give it. Hiatus is one. But we’re just waiting.”