SINN Féin TD Brian Stanley is calling for Laois and Offaly County Councils to be retained and strengthened.
Speaking during the Dáil debate on the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2012, Stanley accused Minster Hogan of “using the current economic downturn as a smoke screen behind which the Minister is attacking local democracy.”
“This bill will allow for the establishment of ten joint local authorities across 20 county and city councils, affecting one and a quarter million people including my own constituency of Laois and Offaly,” he said. “Yet there has been virtually no consultation or discussion with local authority members on these serious proposals. All this is being done in the name of reform and saving money yet surprisingly there was no regulatory impact analysis carried out.”
Deputy Stanley said that there are no figures available in relation to the overall savings which may be made as a result of the specific changes proposed in this bill and he described the proposals as “more huffing and puffing from Minister Hogan”.
“Power must be devolved to local communities not taken away and centralised,” he said. “I’m also calling for the abolition of the post of director of services as the county manager and the senior executive officers provide an adequate management structure. We don’t need this extra level of bureaucracy and the local authorities are top heavy as things stand. We want to see power being devolved to local level as we believe the decision making powers should be vested in the community.”