Thursday, 13 December 2018
Local Government Bill 2018: Report and Final Stages
I thank the Minister of State and his officials for the opportunity last Tuesday to discuss this issue. Having listened to the contributions of previous speakers it is clear that the issues differ in each of the areas. The areas mentioned are Athlone, Bray, Carlow, Carrick-on-Shannon, Drogheda, Limerick, Portarlington and Waterford. We do need a statutory solution. The Minister of State has kicked off the discussion that we need to have in regard to the inclusion of these proposals in the Bill but the issue requires a lot more debate than is appropriate to a Report Stage amendment. I think the outcome of this will be that the issue will be debated in a different way.
The situation in regard to Limerick is different from that described by Deputy O'Dowd in regard to Drogheda, where there has been abuse of the system by developers. In Limerick, it is different in that only a relatively small number of houses and a piece of the university are in County Clare. We have not had the kind of larger development described in regard to Waterford-Kilkenny and Athlone. Deputy Casey gave us a lot of information about Bray. There is the potential for this abuse to occur in the Limerick-Clare situation because the new road will open up a currently undeveloped rural area and so I can understand why this provision would be needed into the future. As I said, we need coherent structures that are proportionate to the representation on both sides. I hope that we will have the opportunity to tease out this issue and the time necessary to get it right.