Thursday, 13 December 2018
Local Government Bill 2018: Report and Final Stages
Deputy Naughten spoke about the financial issues in Galway, of which I am acutely aware. The Bill refers only to the appointment of a single chief executive, which was the situation in Galway until the mid 1980s. Indeed, as Deputy McGuinness outlined, the same situation existed in Kilkenny until much later. We are still retaining two separate corporate bodies. That is why the issues relating to Cork in terms of compensatory packages are for the Galway Bill, which will be brought before the House in the middle of 2019. The next local government Bill will be primarily concerned with the merger of the two Galway authorities but the provisions in this Bill are not concerned with that. The provisions relate to the appointment of a single manager or chief executive but not to a merger of the corporate bodies. The two issues are different in the context of this Bill.
In response to Deputy McGuinness, in 1979, the year after I was born, he was elected as a member of what was then Kilkenny Corporation. He kept referring to it in his comments as a city council but it was not a city council. The Deputy may describe that as dancing on the head of a pin but I would describe it as demonstrating a level of obsessive compulsive disorder vis-à-visthe terminology used for whatever corporate bodies existed at a given time. I do not accept at all the arguments put forward by Deputy McGuinness and others about inconsistency. The issue here is that in Kilkenny there are 100,000 people and it is perfectly reasonable to think that we should have one local authority there. Deputy McGuinness believes that people in Kilkenny city should have two ballot papers whereas I believe that everyone in County Kilkenny should get one ballot paper in a local election. I call that democracy whereas the view of Deputy McGuinness is probably based on a Victorian hangover from what was there in the construction of local government in Ireland-----