Tuesday, 17 July 2012
Local Government Reform
Denis Landy (Labour)
Many councillors are contacting me and the three associations representing councillors, AMAI, LAMA and ACC, have been in contact with spokespersons and with individual Oireachtas Members in recent weeks. They are asking for some final decisions on the process. I commend the Minister on his decision to take action on this rather than go through a process of producing Green Papers and White Papers, as was done on so many other occasions. I am anxious to ensure that the urbanised society in which we all now live can continue and that the structures put in place will facilitate this. We currently have the least representative local government system in Europe, and we do not wish to see that slipping further.
Reform should not mean reduction in representation but simply reform. As Senator Bradford said, powers must be devolved from central government and there must be a rebalance of powers between the current executive management at local government level and councillors. Most important, we must have some sign of a timescale on this issue. The horse can eat grass for only so long; eventually it will need proper feed. I would appreciate if the Minister could give us an update on this matter.