Cooper to table boundaries motion

Sinn Fein Councillor Mickey Cooper
Sinn Fein Councillor Mickey Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper is to bring a motion before Derry and Strabane Council next week calling for a Public Inquiry into the Boundary Commission’s handling of revised proposals.

Colr. Cooper said the motion was in reference to “grave concerns” over the commission’s scrapping of its provisional proposals of September, 2016, in favour of revised proposals published in January 2018. “We felt it was very important to bring this motion forward,” he said.

“These boundary proposals have been branded ‘a gerrymander for the 21st century’ and it’s easy to see why people have come to that conclusion’.If they go ahead, at least four Assembly constituencies will be left without any nationalist representation whatsoever.

“The views of thousands of nationalist voters will effectively count for nothing while these electoral boundaries appear to give maximum advantage to the DUP. That is completely unacceptable.

“The Boundary Commission have failed to produce any justification for it,” he claimed.“These proposals would see our neighbouring town of Dungiven split into three separate constituencies, which is ludicrous and the community are rightly very concerned.”

The Boundary Commission has recently moved to stress its impartiality, stating: “The structure of the Commission and its remit is strictly prescribed by statute. This provides safeguards to ensure that the process of redistricting is protected from political influence or interference. Members of the Boundary Commissioner are appointed through open competition and must not have engaged in political activity. Accordingly, the work of the Commission is carried out separately from politics.”