The abolition of Cashel Town Council will be opposed at every opportunity, according to independent councillors, Maribel and Tom Wood.
Cllr Maribel, Mayor of Cashel, and Cllr Tom, a member of South Tipperary County Council, have written to Deputy Tom Hayes requesting him to immediately raise the matter in the Dail chamber and have also asked the Association of Municipal Authorities of Ireland, a council members association, to defend the Cashel cause.
In a statement Mayor Maribel Wood says: “Anyone with a stem of pride in Cashel and an interest in the further advancement of the town will support the retention of their Council. While only living in this Heritage town for twenty years I was proud to be elected to the local authority in 2009 and am greatly honoured to wear the distinguished chain of office as Mayor. This Council is involved in the delivery of a wide and varied range of public services, has a good relationship with its executive and manages its finances prudently and we only have to look back at the recent visit of Queen Elizabeth and the success of the European Charter to see what the Town Council, with the support of the local community, can achieve. If Minister Hogan and his civil servants think its abolition is going to save a packet then they are seriously mistaken unless of course they intend making a significant number of employees redundant. With the total annual representational payments and allowances for the nine Cashel councillors less than half the annual expenses (not including salary) of many T.Ds. then perhaps the government should start at the top and implement serious reform.
“The number of candidates who present themselves for election and the high turnout of voters is testament to the Council’s standing in the community and as its first citizen I would be failing in my duty if I was to sit back and allow what has become a dictatorial regime, abolish this historic and democratically elected institution at the stroke of a pen.”
Cllr Tom Wood, who served on the Town Council for thirty years, contends that nobody would deny the present councillors and the decent Cashel people their reasonable expectation that all issues relating to the Councils future would be discussed with them but regrettably that’s not the policy of the present government, he says. “There has been contempt for local government, it has always been the poor relation of central government, and despite many reports and promises, successive administrations have failed dismally to reform the system,” he says.
With the significant expansion of Cashel town in recent years he was a strong advocate for an urban boundary extension and was hoping under promised reform that the present Minister, himself a product of local government, would authorise the agreement reached between the County and Town Council. “If this Governments promise of reform simply means the abolition of a council then its a sad day for democracy,” he says.
Since the establishment of Cashel’s Corporation in 1216 public services were delivered through the centuries. In 1639 a Charter of Charles 1st granted it city status while Town Commissioners and an Urban District Council were in place since 1840. “Its only when the door to Aras Caiseal Mumhan closes for good, the telephone at the Civic Offices on Friar Street rings out, the Council chamber is silenced and the last media report of a council meeting goes to press, that a realisation of what has been lost will be recognised and then it will be too late. Somehow I don’t think the proud people of this historic old town, the City of the Kings, will just simply let it happen,” he concludes.