Sinn Féin’s Councillor Chris O’Leary has slammed the government’s local government proposals, saying they are “from a bygone era”.
Councillor O’Leary, addressing the annual conference of the Association of Municipal Authorities of Ireland, said:
“The government’s local government proposals, Putting People First, was a wasted opportunity.
“It should be rejected. It is heavy on bluster and light on detail. Nowhere in the 198 pages does the minister outline what powers, if any, will be devolved to local people or local government. There are proposals for previews, reviews and commissions but no concrete proposals.
“Sinn Féin realises that local government is in need of radical reform. Maintaining structures that have no real power is counterproductive to our strategy of devolving power to our communities. Our reforms will ensure that local authorities can become an essential part of economic development, delivering services and meeting local needs.
“Sinn Féin wants maximum power devolved from central government to a new structure of local authorities and district councils and the balance of power shifted from City and County Managers to elected councillors. The services provided must be adequately funded through progressive taxation and rates.
“Our reforms will ensure that local authorities can become an essential part of economic development, delivering services and meeting local needs. A priority of Sinn Féin in the immediate future is opposition to water rates.
“The forth coming Water Services Bill 2 will be opposed every step of the way both inside the Dáil, in council chambers and in our communities.”