MINISTER’S RESPONSE TO BALLYBAY COUNCILLORS SHOWS DETERMINATION TO IMPLEMENT LOCAL GOVERNMENT CHANGES

12 July 2013 No Comments by The Northern Standard

By MICHAEL McDONNELL
michael@northern-standard.ie

AN INSIGHT into the thinking of Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan in relation to his controversial plans to abolish town councils next year was gleaned at Monday’s meeting of Ballybay Town Council, where a letter from the Minister in response to concerns that were raised by the councillors was read out.

The Minister’s rationale makes it clear that he seems determined to push ahead with the proposals outlined in the ‘Putting People First — Action Programme for Effective Local Government’ document, notwithstanding the strong objections being voiced by many local authority representatives around the country.

Pointing to “anomalies” in the current system, whereby some larger towns had no town council status at all, Minister Hogan in his letter gave an assurance that the new municipal district authorities would bring with them a form of local government that would avoid duplication and see the councils play a “much wider and more effective role”.

He had also called on councillors to support this objective, but the reaction from Cllr Michael Smyth, who blasted the Minister for failing to facilitate a meeting with Cavan/Monaghan Oireachtas members (as requested by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD), was no doubt indicative of how town councillors (and probably the majority of local authority members of all hues) around the country really feel about the proposed changes.

A letter from Deputy Ó Caoláin had informed the councillors that he had sought a …

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