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Sinn Féin sets out proposals for the reform of Local government

4 June, 2004

Sinn Féin Cllr. Joe Reilly, speaking at the launch of the party's Local Government Manifesto this morning in Buswell's Hotel in Dublin said: "Sinn Féin has broad ranging proposals to transform local government in Ireland. These include new structures, powers and responsibilities and the reform of local government financing".

Cllr. Reilly said:

"Sinn Féin is campaigning for a strong system of local government, which is accountable, democratic, properly financed and has the maximum amount of powers devolved to it. Our Councillors have shown that what can be achieved if you work with local communities and have a work record second to none. We have delivered for our constituents and have been a leading, innovative voice for change in Sligo, Dublin, Belfast and my own county Meath.

"Reform of Local Government in this state is long over due. Local government has not been working to its full potential for many years now. Decades of corruption leading to planning chaos throughout the country have marred the work of councils. Local authorities also been deprived of the powers they need to represent and work for their constituents.

"Sinn Féin wants to see change in local government and our manifesto sets out our plans for its complete reform and this must involve placing local authorities on a sound and independent financial footing.

"Local government is about representing the people, and it must have the powers and resources to do this. At the moment, unelected city and county managers call the shots in the councils, not the democratically elected representatives of the people the councillors themselves.

Sinn Féin wants to see:

  • Complete reform of Local government with three tiers for local government in Ireland regional, county and city and district councils
  • The expansion of the powers and responsibilities of local authorities in the areas of education, employment, environment, health, housing and social services as well as the ability to raise tax revenue
  • The removal of the Minister of Environment‚s power to abolish local councils
  • Progressive increases in the proportion of Government spending on local government to reach a target of 20% by 2009
  • Appointment procedures to agencies such as Health Boards should come under the remit of local government instead of being the spoils of office of central government
  • Directly elected, full-time Cathaoirligh of City and County Councils who would take over many of the responsibilities, which are currently held by unelected city and county managers

"After next Friday, Sinn Féin will be in an even stronger position to work for all of these changes and more."ENDS

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