Tuesday, 28 May 2019
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
Seeing as everyone has a spirit of bonhomie, I also congratulate all those who participated in the local elections. I did not come through that. I was a councillor at one stage. I also commend the count staff in the councils on the hours they put in. They were long hours over a period of three or four days. One count is ongoing in Longford while a recount is ongoing in Bandon in Cork. I compliment those people.
A number of Senators have asked for the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment to come to the House. One of the things I would like to ask him is that we have a designated strategic policy committee, SPC, at council level on either climate action or climate change. The Local Government Reform Act 2014 dealt with introducing an SPC for economic development and enterprise. It was done at the time because we were in an economic crisis and there was a role for local authorities with regard to job creation. Now we see the need for a change in our attitudes with regard to where we are going with regard to the climate. Perhaps we should ask the Minister to send a circular, as he did that time, to each local authority directing it to set up an SPC to cover climate action and climate change. It does not necessarily require a new director of services because the legislation allows for directors of services to cater for more than one SPC.That could be tied in with the environmental strategic policy committee that most local authorities now include. That will not be an additional cost for local authorities. Setting up something such as this is what is required. Will the Leader ask the relevant Minister to come before the House to deal with the issues that have been raised, including pay for local councillors, and show some leadership on this?