Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 7 November 2013
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht
Reform of Local Government: Discussion
Association of County and City Councils
I welcome the delegation from the Association of County and City Councils and thank Councillor O'Brien for his contribution. In regard to the apportionment of commercial rates and the local property tax, how does the association envisage the money being distributed to individual municipal district councils?
I support Councillor O'Brien's suggestion about bringing community development boards under the aegis of county councils and note his concern about the fact that they will remain independent, to use his own term, in their functions. What changes does he think are necessary in the Bill if we are to ensure the money is controlled by local authority elected members as opposed to the local authority? I feel strongly about this issue. In regard to development companies, what changes are needed to the current structure of legislation?
What are Councillor O'Brien's concerns about the use of the term "mayor" at municipal district council level and county level? I agree with him on consultations with the association beyond the legislation, particularly in regard to EU legislation pertaining to local government. At present there is only fig-leaf consultation. Councillors are left to answer to the public regarding the strangest of EU directives which impact on people's lives locally but, as anyone with knowledge of European legislation will attest, it takes approximately two years for an idea to become a directive and, in some cases, a further two years to transpose it into Irish law. The process could take five years in total and we are then left to explain why an egg has to be a certain shape in order to be accepted into the market. How can we do something practical with the legislation to ensure that local government has an input into EU legislation?