14 April 2006

Nationalist estates may escape unionist council

Daily Ireland

by Ciarán Barnes

There were fresh hopes among nationalists yesterday that two large Catholic housing estates on the outskirts of west Belfast could be added to a new look Belfast City Council.
The sprawling Poleglass and Twinbrook developments are currently governed by the unionist dominated Lisburn City Council. In 2009, the North’s 26 district council areas will amalgamate to form seven new ‘supercouncils’. Lisburn City Council will join with those in Antrim, Carrickfergus and Newtownabbey to form a 50-member council covering Belfast’s hinterlands.
It was accepted that Poleglass and Twinbrook would be included in this new council which will be almost 90 per cent unionist. However, speculation is increasing that the two nationalist housing estates could become part of the politically evenly balanced Belfast City Council.
Daily Ireland has learned that corporation tax records for companies in Poleglass and Twinbrook were recently moved from Lisburn to Belfast. This has led to suggestions that the two estates could come under the governance of Belfast City Council.
A spokesman for the Inland Revenue, which stores corporation tax records, urged the public not to read too much into the transfer.
He said: “Records are moved all the time for storage reasons. Moving files for operational reasons is not unusual. This does not indicate anything.”

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