The North Coast’s new super council hasn’t even been formed yet but determined local women have already laid down the gauntlet with a Community Manifesto calling for action.
Candidates running for the new Causeway Coast and Glens Council were presented with the five-point manifesto created during the Recipe for Good Decision Making Conference held in Portrush.
Attended by local women, candidates, members of community organisations, MLA Alex Attwood and NI21 MEP candidate Tina McKenzie, the conference was the culmination of months of work by the Ballymoney Community Resource Centre (BCRC), Women’s Resource and Development Agency and the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland.
The project looked at the issue of women in politics, particularly in light of the radical changes in local government and forthcoming local council elections.
The new councils will gain increasing powers from 1st April 2015 – including planning and community and economic development.
“This is an important time for people to make their voices heard,” explained Stephanie Campbell from CFNI.
“Women often say that politicians don’t listen to them so we went out and asked women what was important to them and brought those findings back to the conference where we discussed and agreed the Community Manifesto.
Shauna Irons from BCRC explained that this manifesto would be circulated to all candidates running for council as well as sent out to all participants at the conference. “This will give us a focus on the way we would like to see our new council move forward,” she said.
During the conference a group from Compass Advocacy Newtworks’ Shadow Council Project performed a play they had written themselves about the role of women in politics.
Anne Beattie, a former Women’s Coalition councillor, said: “We need politicians who will do what’s right not what will get a vote.”