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Boundary Commission report a cost cutting and culling exercise Stanley

30 May, 2013 - by Brian Stanley TD


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Environment, Community & Local Government, Brian Stanley TD, has said the Local Electoral Boundary Commissions report is, “all about cost cutting and culling the number of elected councillors.”

Speaking after the report was published this evening Deputy Stanley said;

“The publication only confirms what we suspected. Its focus was never about strengthening democracy or accountability. It was all about cutting the number of councillors.

“The fact is Ireland has one of the lowest numbers of councillors per head of population in Europe. To further reduce their number only undermines councillor’s ability to do the job they are elected to do.

“The proposed local election districts outlined today are so large it will make it impossible for councillors to represent their constituents. We will now have fewer councillors representing larger areas. Some of the new municipal districts are up to 40 to 60km long making it near impossible for councillors to carry out this work outside their daytime jobs.

“They will now be less accessible to the public and will not have enough time to represent their constituents. This is not good for public confidence or democratic accountability.

“The Commission should have proposed nine elected members per municipal district.

“Sinn Féin made clear, workable proposals to the commission. We proposed that there should be a minimum number of 1165 councillors. This is in line with proposals on local government reform being pursued in the six counties.

“Sinn Fein wants to see real reform of local government with maximum power devolved to local councils. We agree local government, along with Town Councils, is in need of reform.

“The current structure has been made un-sustainable by the actions of consecutive governments who have stripped councils of their powers. We want to see Town Councils take in the hinterland and have powers devolved to these District Councils in line with Sinn Féin policy.

“A district council will introduce a lower tier of democracy to all areas outside Cork City & Dublin. We want to see maximum power devolved from central government to the new structure of local authorities and district councils and that power is taken from City & County Managers and given to elected representatives.

“We believe that the current structures should be retained until the government commits itself to proper reform in line with our proposals.”

ENDS

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