MLA to close his Lisburn office

BASIL McCrea is closing his Lisburn constituency office - pointing to the cost of rates as one of his reasons.

The Lagan Valley MLA said the closure of the office was part of the “modernisation of services” for his constituents.

“Providing help and advice on a wide variety of issues is an essential part of the service I offer as an elected representative,” said Mr McCrea.

“In recent times the majority of queries are dealt with by phone or email, though Facebook and Twitter are becoming increasingly important.

“Face to face meetings when required rarely take place at the constituency office, with most constituents preferring a home visit at a time that suits them.”

Mr McCrea continued: “To reflect the changing pattern of communication and to take advantage of the opportunities offered by modern technology I announce today changes to my constituency services.

“I have decided not to renew the lease on my Lisburn office. In common with many other stakeholders in Lisburn I have concluded that the costs, particularly the rates, are simply too high. Scarce resources can be better utilised and should be used to meet the emerging needs of the people.”

Mr McCrea said that he would be extending the opening hours at his Dromore constituency office, which will also deal with queries from constituents in Lisburn.

“The office in Dromore will have extended opening hours and will respond to queries on both the Lisburn (028 9266 8583) and Dromore (028 9269 3594) numbers,” he continued.

“As an elected representative my primary place of work is Stormont, but many people are unaware of the huge amount of time and resources committed to this important area.

“Recent investments in my office in Stormont have enabled ‘same day’ video of my contributions in the Assembly and at committee via facebook

“This ground breaking initiative aims to inform constituents of the work carried out in their name. Currently well over 3,000 followers receive tweets from @basilmccrea live from events and the new strategy actively seeks to use technology to increase citizen participation in the democratic process,” he concluded.