Thursday, 13 December 2018
Local Government Bill 2018: Report and Final Stages
In his reply the Minister of State said that discussions have been going on since 2011. I was elected to this House in 2016 and before that I was a member of Cork County Council. If discussions have been going on at ground level, why was the Government not listening to the councillors? They are the people at ground level to whom the Minister of State should be listening. I was listening to the councillors and that is why I tabled an amendment here. I want to stop this from going ahead because the councillors, from Fine Gael and from all parties and none, are telling us that this is not going to work and that it represents a bad deal for the county of Cork. Nobody listened to the councillors and as the Minister of State said, nobody listened to me in this House either. Sadly, no-one from Cork listened to me in here. Deputies from Galway, Kerry, Tipperary and Dublin supported me but no-one from Cork supported me because the Tánaiste and the leader of a certain political party wag the tail. We are now left to pick up the pieces here.
The Minister of State said that there is no guarantee that the Department will pay going forward if the city is unable to pay. The only action that will be possible is to take the matter to court. Cork county could be facing the terrible situation of getting involved in a massive court case against the city. It is quite possible that will happen. The redrawing of the map to include Blarney and Tower is just another example of collar and tie pencil pushers drawing maps without consulting people. The Minister of State referred to the local authority and spoke about people with university experience but nobody has more experience than the people on the ground. Some councillors were able to tell people 12 months in advance that this was going to happen and how it was going to happen. How could that happen? Where is the democracy in that? The Minister of State has said that he does not want to interfere but he is entitled to do so. He can choose not to accept the recommendation that will result in the people of Ring, Timoleague, Courtmacsherry, Darrara and Lislevane being taken out of an electoral area in which they want to remain. I ask the Minister of State to consider that carefully because it is totally undemocratic.