Belfast City Council


Belfast City Council

Infobox Northern Ireland district
district_name = Belfast City
alt_name = Comhairle Cathrach Bhéal Feirste
district_

area_rank = 23rd
district_area = 115
district_HQ = Belfast
district_iso = GB-BFS
district_ons = 95Z
protestant_pc = 48.6%
catholic_pc = 47.2%
web_address = http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/
district_MPs = Gerry Adams
Nigel Dodds
Peter Robinson
Alasdair McDonnell

Belfast City Council is the city council for Belfast, Northern Ireland. It is the largest local council, serving the largest city in Northern Ireland and had an estimated population of PopLookupNI|POP=Belfast City in TXT=Year. It is the central council for the Belfast Metropolitan Area which has a population of c.650,000. The Council is based in Belfast City Hall. Belfast was also the first seat of government for Northern Ireland. The council was created on its current boundaries following the local council elections of May 1973. Originally it was intended that there would be 52 wards. However, local enquiries meant that the proposed Tullycarnet ward became instead the Castlereagh Borough Council wards of Tullycarnet and Gilnahirk.

Electoral areas

The current Belfast City Council area consists of 9 electoral areas: Oldpark, Castle, Victoria, Pottinger, Laganbank, Balmoral, Upper Falls, Lower Falls and Court. In the 2005 local government elections, the voters of Belfast elected a total of 51 councillors from the following political parties: 15 Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), 14 Sinn Féin, 8 Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), 7 Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), 4 Alliance Party, 2 Progressive Unionist Party and 1 Independent Unionist.

In 2006, the local government boundary commission published proposals to extend Belfast into the neighbouring districts of Castlereagh and Lisburn, as well as adding a small part of North Down. The proposed extension mostly comprises the communities of Poleglass, Twinbrook, Dunmurry, Lagmore, Belvoir, Cregagh, Braniel, Gilnahirk and Tullycarnet. However some have suggested extending the council further into Castlereagh and Newtownabbey councils and these proposals have recently been discussed at a local enquiry. [cite web | title = Written Representations | publisher = Local Government Boundaries Commissioner for Northern Ireland | date = 2007 | url = http://www.lgbc-ni.org/index/written_representations.htm | accessdate = 2007-05-24]

1997 Election results

In 1997, Unionists lost overall control of Belfast City Council for the first time in its history, with the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland gaining the balance of power between Nationalists and Unionists. This position was confirmed in the council elections of 2001 and 2005. Since then it has had three Nationalist mayors, two from the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) and one from Sinn Féin.

2005 Election results

In the 2005 local government elections, the voters of Belfast elected fifty-one councillors to Belfast City Council from the following political parties: 15 Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), 14 Sinn Féin, 8 Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), 7 Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), 4 Alliance Party, 2 Progressive Unionist Party (PUP), and 1 Independent. [cite web | title = Belfast City Council Elections 1993-2005 | work = Northern Ireland Elections | publisher = Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive (ARK) | date = 2005 | url = http://www.ark.ac.uk/elections/lgbelfast.htm | accessdate = 2007-05-24] The Independent is Frank McCoubrey who is a leading member of the Ulster Political Research Group, the successor to the Ulster Democratic Party.

Lord Mayor, High Sheriff

The city of Belfast has a mayoral form of municipal government. The City's elected officials are the Lord Mayor, Deputy Lord Mayor and High Sheriff who are drawn from fifty one elected councillors. The first Lord Mayor of Belfast was Daniel Dixon, who was elected in 1892.cite web | title = Councillors: Lord Mayor | publisher = Belfast City Council | url = http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/councillors/index.asp?menuitem2=lord-mayor | accessdate = 2007-05-24] As of June 2007, the Lord Mayor of Belfast is Sinn Féin politician Tom Hartley, who becomes the second Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of the city. His duties, as mayor of Belfast, include presiding over meetings of the council, receiving distinguished visitors to the city, and representing and promoting the city on the national and international stage.

His deputy is Councillor David Browne (UUP). The city council also (uniquely amongst Northern Ireland's councils) elects a High Sheriff, who acts as the Queen's representative in the city; the current holder of that office is Councillor Margaret McKenzie(DUP).

Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies

Belfast has four UK parliamentary and Assembly constituencies - North Belfast, West Belfast, South Belfast and East Belfast. All four extend somewhat beyond the city boundaries into parts of Castlereagh, Lisburn and Newtownabbey districts. In 2007, the people of Belfast elected 8 Sinn Féin, 7 DUP, 3 Ulster Unionist, 4 SDLP, 1 PUP and 2 Alliance members of the Northern Ireland Assembly. In the 2005 general election, they elected 2 DUP MPs, 1 SDLP MP and 1 Sinn Féin MP.

Assets

The council owns a number of buildings and parks in Belfast, including Belfast Castle and Belfast Botanic Gardens.

Councillors

Parks and Open Spaces

Belfast City Council is also responsible for the City's Parks. They maintain the city's green spaces and organising park events and activities. They also work to promote some of Belfast’s biggest tourist attractions, like Belfast Zoo and Malone House.

Northern Ireland Local Government Reform

Under proposals announced on September 17 2008, when the number of councils in Northern Ireland is reduced to eleven in time for elections in 2011, the area of Belfast City Council shall expand slightly to "reflect its natural setting as encompassed by the surrounding hills, a number of landscape features and some major roads." It is proposed that "the localities of Gilnahirk, Tullycarnet, Braniel, Castlereagh, Merok, Cregagh, Wynchurch, Glencregagh and Belvoir, which are part of the existing Castlereagh Borough Council area, should be incorporated in the Belfast District; and that the localities of Collin Glen, Poleglass, Lagmore, Twinbrook, Kilwee and Dunmurry, which are part of the existing Lisburn City area, should also be incorporated in the Belfast District... [while] a small area of housing at Knocknagoney should transfer from North Down to Belfast."cite web | title=Provisional Recommendations of the Local Government Boundaries Commissioner for Northern Ireland| work=LGBC | url=http://www.lgbc-ni.org/index/provisional_recommendations.htm | accessdate=2008-09-26] , bringing its electorate to 190,393. The new council will elect 60 councillors.

ee also

* Local Councils in Northern Ireland
* List of parks in Northern Ireland

References

External links

* [http://www.gotobelfast.com/ Go To Belfast - Tourism]
* [http://nigov.tmtm.com/wiki/Belfast_City_Council_Minutes Belfast City Council Minutes] — unofficial wiki with annotated and cross-referenced minutes of meetings of Belfast City Council
* [http://www.ark.ac.uk/elections/lgbelfast.htm Belfast City Council, 1993 - 2005]


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