Wednesday, 10 July 2019
Local Government Rates and Other Matters Bill 2018: Motion for Earlier Signature
That pursuant to subsection 2° of section 2 of Article 25 of the Constitution, Seanad Éireann concurs with the Government in a request to the President to sign the Local Government Rates and Other Matters Bill 2018 on a date which is earlier than the fifth day after the date on which the Bill shall have been presented to him.
I wish the Minister of State well with the Bill. It is a very important piece of legislation that he has brought to the House and that the House has passed. I am sure councillors will be happy with the intended proposal the Minister of State will make when he meets with the Association of Irish Local Government, AILG, and the Local Authorities Members Association, LAMA. The legislation is long overdue and in many ways will ensure local authorities have a closer look at how they view and agree their budgets and the valuations will be agreed as well.
I wish the Minister of State well and thank him and his officials who gave us a briefing. I was watching some of the debate earlier and I thought how many more Members would have benefited if they had gone to the briefing. I thank the officials for their very detailed briefing last week. This is more power to local government and that is the message we need to get out. We must communicate that message. I hope there will be other areas where we can devolve powers and functions to councillors but, ultimately, councils then must take up the challenge and run with the powers we give to them. I thank the Minister of State and in particular his officials for the briefings and answering the queries as we went through the process.
I also thank the Minister of State and his officials. This is an excellent piece of progressive legislation that gives more power to local authority members. I remember calling for it when I was a member of a local authority, in particular the amendment to allow a local authority to decide what rates should be paid within its region and what type of alleviation scheme to introduce. I hope we can get the regulations out as quickly as possible because that will mean there is potential for the scheme to be up and running before the year end.
I thank the Minister of State. I too met with his departmental officials. The biggest issue I had related to crèches and playschools. I got a lot of confirmation for them and I thank the officials for that. This is a significant improvement for businesses, local authorities and councillors. All of us are working together and we want to make sure that our areas are well looked after. The Minister of State and I share the same area and I know we will give 100% to our area and make sure we do our best.