Seanad debates

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

4:00 am

Photo of Paul BradfordPaul Bradford (Fine Gael)

I welcome the Minister and I am glad my colleague, Senator Landy, is also raising the subject of local government reform. We are speaking with less than two years to go until the local government elections. While the timescale is getter shorter it still gives the Minister, the Government and the House an opportunity to make final decisions on the structures, role and size of local government but decisions will be required in the very near future. I hope the Minister will indicate his current thinking on the situation. This matter has been debated previously in the House but decisions will need to be taken in the very near future. The Minister has both the opportunity and the challenge of deciding the future of local government and of putting structures in place which are to last for 25 to 40 years. It has been at least a political generation since significant local government reform took place and the structure now requires another reform. We will need to have a debate about the size of town and county councils, the possibility of sub-structures and the format of same. I do not wish to be prescriptive but I ask that these decisions are made soon so that current local councillors and the hundreds of people who are interested in running in the local government elections would have a reasonable idea in sufficient time of what will be the new structures and powers of local authorities. This debate will continue until the elections in 2014 but I ask the Minister to provide an interim report.


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