Greystones councillors differ on Hogan's reform of local authority system
Cllr George Jones has welcomed the overall proposals of Minister Hogan to reform the Local Authority system. There is still a lot more detail required from the Department which I presume will appear when the Minister brings his proposals to the Dail.
Cllr Jones said “I regret the removal of the Town Council as I was elected to the very first Greystones Town Commission in 1984 but I did start my political life as a member of Wicklow County Council in 1979 so I can the advantages of a single system as proposed.
In fact what is proposed for Greystones is the extension of the area to include other surrounding towns and villages an idea that has been suggested during the lifetime of the current Town Council when a proposal was made to include Delgany in the Town Area. The new Council though reduced in numbers will still have a Mayor and there will be no reason why it cannot do better for an extended area than the current Town Council with its restricted area.
Cllr Jones said the changes will not affect the current community events held in Greystones if the newly elected members of the”new type” Council show the same commitment as existing Town Councillors. It may have the effect of improving events like the People of Year Awards by extending the catchment area for winners. Events like the St Patricks Day Parade, Christmas lights etc should not be affected.
Cllr Jones concluded “before we use emotive terms about the proposed changes we should wait for the detail” Currently local government does not enjoy universal confidence and I hope that these suggested proposals will assist over time in restoring confidence in the system.
In the aftermath of the abolition of Greystones Town Council by Fine Gael’s Phil Hogan, Cllr Ciarán Hayden has stated that a knife has been pushed through the heart of Community Spirit in Greystones. The following Community Events/Activities will now not go ahead in Greystones after 2014:
· The St Patricks Day Parade
· The Christmas lights and Ceremony
· The People of the Year Award
· The Town Twinning programme
· The Greystones Town Map
· The Greystones Annual Dog Show
Other activities in the Town like the Americana Music Festival and certain Tidy Towns projects will also be in doubt as they rely on funding from the Town Council to survive. The direct local management of the Cliff Walk is now also up in the air.
Cllr Hayden, a local Fianna Fail member of the Council said, “responsibility for this community debacle rests with Fine Gael and I hold them solely to account on this. There were alternatives available to the Minister but he chose a numbers game. Fine Gael have stabbed the Community of Greystones in the heart and we must remember them for their actions.”
The local Councillor also questioned whether it was worth his while continuing with Greystones Town Council considering the death sentence imposed on it yesterday. He finished by saying “The Town Council is finished and for the next eighteen months it will have little or no credibility. It will be like the last two hours on the Titanic – you know it is going to sink – do you sink with it or do you move on and get into a lifeboat”