South Tipperary will become the ‘poor sister’ in an amalgamated all-county council, it was declared at today’s (Monday’s) meeting of South Tipperary County Council.
A proposed division of departments with four going to Nenagh and three to CLonmel drew the unhappiness of councillors who said “all the big hitters are going to North Tipperary.”
By government order South and North Tipperary County Councils will merge in the local elections of 2014. Today the members of South Tipperary County Council were given an update on planning towards this.
Commenting on the proposed division of directorates in the reunified county council, Cllr Siobhan Ambrose said “all the biggies are going to North Tipp.” She said Finance, Roads, Planning and IT would be based in Nenagh while Environment, HR and Housing will be based in Clonmel.
Other councillors questioned the wisdom of having two headquarters for the reunified council, speaking in favour of a brand new ‘county hall’ in the middle of the county. Cllr Tom Wood said he was in favour of a central location, as did Cllr Darren Ryan who said “South Tipperary has most certainly pulled the short straw.”
Concerns were also raised about other service areas.
County Manager Billy McEvoy told the meeting a high level, framework document was being draw up to be submitted to the minister by the end of May. He said he could not answer many of the councillor’s questions at this stage as many of the details will not be worked out until after the minister approves the plan, but he assured the meeting that just because a director of services was based in the Nenagh office it did not mean there would be no staff from that division based in Clonmel.
Mr McEvoy went on to say he was disappointed that there has been no information forthcoming form the government about the reform of local government, that may see the abolition of town councils. Information about this would be helpful in planning for the reunified county council, he said.
In answer to a question from Cllr Sylvia Cooney Sheehan, Mr McEvoy said there will be a reduction in staff into the future but that has yet to be worked out. This will not be in the plan being prepared for the minister.
Read a full report on the County Council discussion in The Nationalist - on sale Wednesday morning.