Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 23 June 2022

Public Accounts Committee

2020 Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General
Chapter 3 - Central Government Funding of Local Authorities

9:30 am

Photo of James O'ConnorJames O'Connor (Cork East, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I welcome the officials to the committee and I thank them for the briefing they have provided. It is true that local government in Ireland does not get the level of scrutiny at an Oireachtas level that perhaps it should. I have been a member of a local authority, like many other members of this committee, and I want to ask Mr. Doyle if he thinks the current system is fit for purpose. The role of local authority members is not really defined as to whether it is full-time or part-time. For the sake of comparison, what a chief executive is on is many multiples the wage of a county councillor. Is that a sustainable model that is fit for purpose in a 21st century democracy where significant policy has to be analysed, zoning has to be looked at and many other key decisions have to be looked at? Let there be no doubt about the enormous power chief executives in particular have in this country when it comes to decision-making within their local authorities, which can cause substantial problems. Is that a model that will be sustainable going into the next decade? I do not think it is but I would like to get Mr. Doyle's opinion on it.


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