NIPSA has called for the decision to close 4 remaining Electoral Offices in Banbridge, Derry/Londonderry, Newtownabbey and Omagh to be reversed to protect jobs and services in rural communities.
At a meeting with the Chief Electoral Officer, Virginia McVea, it was confirmed that there are plans to close the electoral offices in Banbridge and Newtownabbey early in the New Year and the Omagh and Derry/Londonderry offices shortly after the local council elections in May 2019. All electoral services will be centralised into the Belfast Electoral Office.
Speaking on the plans, Dooley Harte, NIPSA Headquarters Official stated:
“Management plans to close the regional electoral offices will have a serious and significant impact on service delivery to rural communities. We believe there will be a serious impact on the electoral register as the electorate is forced to go online or lose out. We have met with all political parties who oppose these plans but both the Chief Electoral Officer and the Northern Ireland Office have sought to close offices and reduce services to meet budget cuts with the Electoral Office having lost around a third of its budget in the last 7 years.
NIPSA is meeting with its members affected by these new proposals that will close offices, cost jobs and see a new online service centralised in Belfast. We again call on our political representatives to oppose the closure of offices and seek the NIO to properly fund the Electoral Office to keep jobs and services in rural areas.”