Seanad debates

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

3:00 am

Photo of Ned O'SullivanNed O'Sullivan (Fianna Fail)

Last week it was flagged by me that the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government was to attend in Cavan the annual conference of town councillors. I attended the conference at which I took part in a panel discussion with Senator Denis Landy. There were more than 400 delegates in attendance. If they had attended in the hope the Government’s position on the system of local government would be clarified, they left deeply disappointed because the Minister did exactly the opposite. Instead of bringing clarity to the subject, he confused it even more. His messages were mixed. He referred to ending the isolation of town councils and implied that he was speaking about integrating local government structures. We are all for integration, but nobody wants town councils which have given fantastic service to communities for more than 100 years to be abolished at the stroke of a pen. Like me, the Leader will be conscious of the tremendous work councillors do. County councillors are equally concerned because, apparently, the Government is countenancing having fewer councils and county councillors.

There was a reference to the Fine Gael parliamentary party. I cannot imagine what goes on at such a gathering-----

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