We had to respond on the basis of the criteria and terms of reference of the committee. We were in a straitjacket in that regard. If the Northern model was followed there would be 1,180 councillors, 230 more councillors than the Minister is proposing. I welcome the fact that the Minister will examine the issue of resources, considering the number of meetings, the category of each council and the fact that representatives will attend monthly municipal authority meetings and also county council meetings.
The Minister has set out a menu of possible provisions for the devolution of powers. However, the only ones to which he is giving serious consideration are to do with tourism and economic development, the realignment of local development and the establishment of an economic development officer. Sinn Féin supports the establishment of the position of economic development officer for local authorities. However, I ask the Minister to give serious consideration to other areas. A menu is in existence and power must be shifted out from the centre. It must not be a power grab. There are signs of this, including the Minister's reduction of the number of councillors who will sit on the regional authorities to only two per authority. This rules out everyone bar the bigger parties. I have a real concern about that and I ask the Minister to address my concern.