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Union slams electoral office closure and launches petition to save services

Thursday, 3 November 2016

THE decision to close Ballymena's electoral office has been criticised by NIPSA, Northern Ireland's largest trade union and the union representing electoral office staff.
Graham Shields, Chief Electoral Officer, announced the Broughshane Street office would close, as a result of the ending of the current lease and services and staff would transfer to Newtownabbey.
However NIPSA has slammed this decision as scandalous given that alternative accommodation was offered by the local council and Ballymena can ill-afford the loss of more jobs and services.
NIPSA official, Dooley Harte, said: "The decision to close the Ballymena office will have a serious impact on the public.
“The office currently sees about 250 people cross its door each month.
“These people will have to travel to Newtownabbey to get the support they need.
“However local EONI staff also assist with completing registration forms and advice and Electoral Identity Card provision which facilitates local banks, building societies, credit unions and those wishing to travel to the UK.
“What is particularly shameful about this decision is that Mid and East Antrim had offered temporary rent free accommodation to the chief electoral officer to retain an electoral office in Ballymena and he turned down this offer."
This closure comes during a public consultation on the delivery of future electoral services being carried out by the Northern Ireland Office.
*Read the full story in this week's Ballymena Guardian.

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