New super council ‘can lead the way’, claims CEO

Anne Donaghy, chief executive of Mid and East Antrim District Council.  INLt 08-677-CON
Anne Donaghy, chief executive of Mid and East Antrim District Council. INLt 08-677-CON

Anne Donaghy has been officially unveiled as the chief executive of the new Mid and East Antrim District Council this week.

Mrs Donaghy – who currently holds the top job on Ballymena Borough Council – will start work as CEO designate in the near future to lead the preparations and convergence work for the new council, which is set to take over from Larne, Carrickfergus and Ballymena councils on April 1, 2015.

She will then take up the position of chief executive of the new council from this date.

Mrs Donaghy spoke of her delight at being selected for the role and said: “The next few years will change the landscape of local government in Northern Ireland and I believe Mid and East Antrim can lead the way in fully grasping the opportunities to deliver on behalf of our citizens, ratepayers, councillors and Council officers.

“It is a privilege to be appointed chief executive and I am excited to drive forward the transition to Mid and East Antrim.”

Ald Billy Ashe, chairman of Mid and East Antrim Statutory Transition Committee – which has been tasked with performing preparatory work for the new body – said he was delighted that Mrs Donaghy had accepted the position.

He added: “There is significant work to be done in order to ensure a smooth transition to Mid and East Antrim by April 2015.

“We are determined that this work will position Mid and East Antrim as one of the strongest councils in Northern Ireland.

“After an intensive interview process that attracted open competition from across the United Kingdom, it was unanimously agreed that Anne was the best candidate to lead the new Council forward.”

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan also extended his congratulations to Mrs Donaghy and said: “As new structures are being put in place which will transform local government, the real drive behind the transformation will be the leadership and partnership working of elected members and council staff.

“It will be their dedication, determination and drive, their courage and imagination, their goodwill and generosity of spirit which will deliver a much more effective, efficient, citizen centred and responsive system of local government.

“Anne’s appointment is the next important step in Mid and East Antrim’s transition towards this.”

Mid and East Antrim will replace the existing Borough councils of Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Larne as part of the province-wide programme of local government reform that will reduce the current 26 local councils to 11.

These new councils will have an extended range of powers and functions and will be able to deliver better services at better value by maximising economies of scale.

Elections to Mid and East Antrim’s Council will take place on May 22, and the new body will then come into being in shadow form until it takes over in April 2015.