Radical plans to overhaul Mid Ulster council evening meetings

Mid-Ulster District Council Chairperson Linda Dillon with UNICEF ambassador and award-winning actor James Nesbitt during Friday afternoon's "Rights Respecting School's" Level 2 award presentation at St Patrick's College Dungannon.INTT42115-360
Mid-Ulster District Council Chairperson Linda Dillon with UNICEF ambassador and award-winning actor James Nesbitt during Friday afternoon's "Rights Respecting School's" Level 2 award presentation at St Patrick's College Dungannon.INTT42115-360

Radical plans have been proposed to reduce evening meetings of the Mid Ulster Council in a serious drive to make the council more ‘family friendly’.

Council chairperson Linda Dillon has called on the council to revolutionise its working hours in a bid to attract more female politicians.

The Sinn Fein representative said it was time the council should adopt a new, family-friendly working pattern for its staff and councillors.

The call was made after employers were criticised for showing little consideration to workers with family responsibilities during an SDLP motion condemning the lack of adequate childcare provision in the local area and calling upon 30 hours of free childcare to be made available locally.

The chairperson said: “We do a lot of our business in the evening, and it is very difficult to get childcare at that time of day. We also have to bear in mind that we have a lot of council officers here tonight who have to attend many council meetings conducted in the evenings.

“It’s time we looked to our own council and started making changes to better support employees with children struggling to find adequate childcare.

“We need to see change within this chamber and the focus that has traditionally been on evening working hours, and the way in which this deters working parents. We have control over how we do things within this council.”