South Tipperary Independent TD Mattie McGrath has raised major concerns about what he describes as ‘a huge bias towards North Tipperary’ following the publication of Minister Hogan’s “Putting People First- Action Programme for effective local Government” last week.
Prior to the publication of this report, the Tipperary Reorganisation Implementation Plan had proposed that the full merger of the two Councils should be implemented with effect from the local elections in mid-2014, however, the latest report now suggests that a dual management arrangement be put in place up to the local elections in 2014 which would enable a single executive head to be put in place for both sets of authorities to lead the process of reorganisation and convergence.
The report also states that the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2012 which was enacted in June 2012 has made provisions to enable dual management arrangements to be implemented.
“This is very significant and is a huge concern for South Tipperary, whereby a clear bias has existed within the Tipperary Reorganisation Implementation Group. The Chairman of the group was North Tipperary County Council’s current manager, Mr. Joe McGrath.” said Deputy McGrath
“So not alone has the reorganisation implementation group had a Chairman from North Tipperary County Council but it appears that the chairman of the Group is now set to become a dual manager of South and North Tipperary County Councils up until the Local Elections in 2014 when the full merger is set to be put in place.”
The plans suggest that the Council functions will be divided across the two main centres of Nenagh and Clonmel so that some are located fully at one, and others at the second centre with a certain level of customer service in respect of all areas of Council business at both centres.
However, Deputy McGrath has claimed that South Tipperary is fast becoming the poor relation and risks losing more and more vital services.
“South Tipperary County Council has not had a look-in in terms of the merger and will effectively be under the control of North Tipperary County Council Manager in the run up to the 2014 Local Elections when they had not expected to be merged until after the elections.
“I have huge concerns about how many of the vital services will be transferred to Nenagh after that point.
“I had raised concerns last October with the Minister that the Implementation group was biased towards North Tipperary and it appears that this was in fact the case and I will be raising this matter in Dáil Éireann again this week” concluded Deputy McGrath.