The revitalisation of town centres requires overhaul of local government
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Environment, Community and Local Government, Brian Stanley TD, has said, “To affect the revitalisation of our town centres local government must be overhauled.”
Speaking during a Dáil debate on the Local Government (Town Centres) bill, Stanley said:
“Many towns including my own town of Portlaois, despite the best efforts of business and communities, are in need of serious town centre revitalisation.
“Like many TDs I came through the ranks of my local Town Council and Laois County Council. Efforts to improve our town centres were halted by lack of finance and real power.
“The central problem with local government in this state is that consecutive governments have continued to suck the oxygen of power out of local councils.
“Sinn Féin believes to affect the revitalisation of our town centres outlined in today’s bill local government must be over hauled. It is not fit for purpose.
“The current government has failed to develop a coherent island wide spatial plan for economic development and failed to reach the targets for 50% of FDI investment to be outside of the Cork and Dublin. This has left many of our small and medium town centres starved of much needed investment.
“Sinn Féin believes in economic development that is built on sustainability which fosters indigenous industry and attracts investment. Councils should adopt and implement plans for economic development including the provision of incubation space and start up grants for local indigenous industry.
“Local businesses are the back bone of our town centres. But they are penalised by an unfair rates system that favour the bigger multi nationals. To assist in the economic development of local businesses Sinn Féin will introduce a progressive rates system. Progressive rates will take into account profit and turnover the larger companies.
“Currently, local councils are stifled by limited powers and underfunding. The recent Local Government Bill will do nothing to address this if it is allowed to remain in its current form. It needs to be radically changed to devolve power and decision making to local authorities.”