Tuesday, 26 March 2019
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
Local Authority Boundaries
Clonmel is the largest town in Tipperary. It is the county town and has a population of more than 17,000 people or 11% of the population of the county. The last Fine Gael-Labour Party Government that was in office from 2011 to 2016 significantly damaged Clonmel. It abolished Clonmel Borough Council; it closed the 50-bed St. Michael's psychiatric unit in South Tipperary General Hospital; it closed Kickham Barracks, a military establishment in Clonmel since 1650, with the loss of 150 jobs and approximately €10 million that was spent annually; and it transferred the headquarters of the vocational education committee from Clonmel.
The Minister of State's recent decision regarding the municipal district of Clonmel and Cahir has made matters worse. Far from restoring the borough council, it makes Clonmel the second smallest municipal district in the county. It significantly reduces funding to the town and it reduces staffing. As the district manager told the Minister of State recently at a meeting in the town hall in Clonmel, a practical example of this was where it had been proposed that the current scheme for the centre of the town enhancement programme in O'Connell Street, Gladstone Street and Irishtown was to be done over a five-year period, it will now take ten years. The Minister of State's decision has also undermined local democracy further. It removes Cahir, which is in the hinterland of Clonmel and has always been associated with Clonmel, from the municipal district. I ask the Minister of State to reverse that decision and to be fair to Clonmel and the local area.