A Labour Party Senator has called on the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government to protect the interests of rural communities when considering the boundaries changes for the next local elections.
Senator Denis Landy is seeking assurances from Phil Hogan TD that sitting councillors and potential candidates can have an adequate readjustment period in order to prepare for election campaigns and canvassing.
Senator Landy, an experienced local government politician, having served 23 years in local government, as a former Mayor of Carrick on Suir Town and South Tipperary County Councillor believes that the time frame for any local government reforms should be in line with what is being provided for in Dail constituencies and has urged the Minister to safeguard rural communities against gerrymandering.
“While Putting People First does contain some positive measures of reform, it fundamentally falls short and lacks clarity. We, as legislators, as a country and as a democracy, should not rush through in 100 days, proposals that have taken over 100 years to get on the table,” said Senator Landy.
Senator Landy has said that the Minister must listen to and engage with the people on the ground in communities across the country, as well as workers in local government authorities and their unions, in order to grasp this once in a lifetime opportunity to provide the people of urban and rural Ireland with the conclusive and accountable reform of local democracy that they deserve and are hungry for.
Senator Landy will be speaking in the Seanad on Tuesday where he will tell Minister Hogan that Putting People First is weighted on numbers and reduction not the radical reform we were promised.
“Cutting numbers will deprive local government of the oxygen it needs to survive. The reduction in councillors disproportionately small urban and rural areas which will ultimately leave rural people out in the cold with less representation, in a time when the failings of democracy and accountability have nearly destroyed our country and economy, and left voters crying out for more transparent and accessible politics,” says Landy.