Council to retain leisure services

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COUNCILLORS in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon have voted to keep the provision of leisure services within the Council.

In a tense build-up to the vote, political parties were asked to put the needs of the community ahead of political ideology.

Commenting on the decision, Paddy Mackel, NIPSA official with overall responsibility for local government said: “This was a fantastic result for the workers, the protection of leisure services and the local community who use those services. Working alongside the community, the unions came together with one voice to argue for the retention of leisure services within the council. All ratepayers in the Borough will benefit from this common sense decision.

“NIPSA would like to take this opportunity to thank all the political parties and independent councillors who supported the in-house model.

“In particular, we wish to show our gratitude to the Ulster Unionist Party councillors who listened to the case presented by the unions and who took the decision to propose the motion to keep leisure provision within the council. This was real leadership, delivering for the whole community.”

The vote will now enable work on the new facilities to commence as soon as possible, rather than dragging this beyond the upcoming council elections and the summer recess.

Concluding Paddy Mackel commented: “The community as a whole will see the benefits of this important decision for years to come. I’m sure local residents will have this in mind when they participate in the upcoming council elections in this borough.

“Once again the unions have demonstrated that working together, along with the community and engaging positively with political parties can achieve significant results for workers, their families and local people who use public services. All the hard work of our local activists certainly paid off. Well done to all involved.”