Too many secrets

SIR, — The banner headline on your front page last week qualifies much about our present council and its ‘secret’ programme for the destruction of Downpatrick and all that it stands for.

Ever since the inception of that unwieldy mouthful, Newry, Mourne and Down Council, I have been trying to highlight the disadvantages of living on the wrong side of the Mournes.

Few, if any, have ever challenged me. Does that mean I have been correct in my prognostications, or do I detect public apathy to what is being done in the name of the people.

We are in pre-election mode at the moment. So why not take stock of what is happening and let the doorstep canvassers know our true feelings about things in general and others in particular.

By what authority can Council officials act so arrogantly when contemplating the future of such necessary social entities as an important visitor centre in what was once 

our county town? And what about those whom we elect and send to council to represent our interests and protect the things that are 

important to us?

My message to the Mandarins of Newry, Mourne and Down Council is a simple one. You are all paid officials. Please act in accordance with your employment briefs.

Don’t hide behind out-dated legislation which still allows you to call committee meetings, conduct hearings in camera and muzzle councillors from discussing with the public what is really going on.

Gives us the transparency that everyone desires. If tough decisions have to be taken, then put them on an agenda for open, public debate.

But don’t trying introducing Gulag policies into an already ill-fated local government system. Do the job you are paid to do….and  do it fairly.

Maybe the time has come for a real Citizens’ Forum.

Yours etc,

Michael J Drake,