Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 16 October 2012
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht
Business of Joint Committee
Before we do that, I wish to ask why most of us had to find out about the reorganisation of local government through the media and why this committee has been bypassed essentially in that it was not given any kind of briefing on this. I have seen absolutely nothing on this other than what I heard from listening to "News At One". Some respect must be shown for this committee. This is outrageous. I want to make that point.
I support my colleague on this issue. I read two pages of the briefing document in the canteen. It is outrageous we had to learn about it in this way and that we were not briefed or did not receive documentation on it. As of now there is still nothing in our pigeonholes on this. We know absolutely nothing about it. It is disgraceful and outrageous.
I add my voice in support of the complaints expressed by the two previous speakers. It is appalling we had to hear of it in this way. This appeared in the newspapers yesterday and the radio stations had the story this morning. Town councillors in our constituencies, many of whom have served for 25 and 30 years, telephoned members from all parties wanting to know what was happening. It is not good enough. What is our committee for?
I would add my voice to those of the previous speakers. I am exceptionally disappointed about this when the proposals are of such a fundamental nature and will have a major impact on democracy, particularly at local level. When people telephone us or contact us they expect that we as legislators would have information on a matter. It is a pity this has happened and in some way it will contaminate the future debate on this matter.
I wish the Chairman the best of luck in his new role. I attended and I received notification of it and I understood I received it because I was a member of this committee but there were other members of political parties there, including a member of Deputy McLellan's party who is also a member of this committee. Some information was circulated but, clearly, others did not get it. There must have been some breakdown and it would be worth checking that as it is very important that every member of this committee is treated equally.