I blogged previously about the need for a proper, joined-up local government reform process in Northern Ireland. To summarise, councils should be both larger and more powerful in order to be worthwhile, and the traditional counties would provide a foundation of legitimacy. As an addendum, here is a map I made of my preferred model based on electoral wards, following a recent discussion on Slugger. Please note these boundaries are indicative only, and would of course be subject to local consultation – the boundary around Dromore in particular would require some tweaking at the townland level.
Performing a napkin calculation based on current council areas, we get:
BELFAST ~ 350k:
Belfast, Castlereagh (minus Carryduff and Dundonald) plus bits of Lisburn
Ballymena, Ballymoney, Moyle, Larne, Carrickfergus, Newtownabbey, Antrim plus Glenavy.
DOWN AND LAGAN VALLEY ~330k:
North Down, Ards, Down, most of Lisburn plus bits of Castlereagh, Banbridge and Newry&Mourne
ARMAGH AND UPPER BANN ~290k:
Craigavon, Armagh, most of Newry&Mourne and Banbridge
TYRONE AND FERMANAGH ~250k:
Cookstown, Dungannon, Omagh, Strabane, Fermanagh
Coleraine, Magherafelt, Limavady, Derry City
Urban, eastern councils will be slightly higher in population and lower in area compared to rural, western ones. Drumlins Rock suggested that Belfast should be expanded further to take in Dundonald, Holywood and Newtownabbey, however I have not shown that here as I feel it is an argument for another time.