She was speaking ahead of the launch of Alliance’s Local Government Election manifesto, which contains a number of measures aimed at maximising the potential of every area in terms of business, tourism and regeneration.
This includes, but is not limited to, plans to introduce ‘hubs’ within council areas to directly link businesses with FE colleges, to develop an integrated strategy for sustainable tourism, as well as to explore new and innovative investment and funding models for our towns, cities, and villages, among other measures.
“Small businesses have an absolutely vital role in the fabric of our local economies, and Alliance councillors will be unwavering in their advocacy for more support for them,” said Niamh.
“We firmly believe that further expansion of the support already available, along with the targeted prioritisation of town centres when it comes to regeneration, are key to generating wealth within local areas, creating local jobs, and building vibrant, prosperous communities all across Northern Ireland.
“Local councils are the heart of our communities, and we believe that they are best equipped to make informed decisions on regeneration in each area, and deliver local solutions based on the specific social needs and circumstances of the community. To enable that, we want to see the urgent devolution of the powers needed to make this happen.
“To help work towards this, we’re also committed to seeing significant reform carried out to the planning process to make it swifter and more effective.
“Every local council area has invaluable individual assets to offer, and the measures we’re proposing will seek to maximise their potential and deliver benefits for both local residents and tourists alike.”