Carrick-on-Suir Town Council’s elected members are to appeal for the abolition of town councils to be deferred until 2015 as they believe more time is needed for public consultation and discussion of this local government reform.
Each of the nine members have resolved to make submissions to the Local Electoral Area Boundary Committee arguing the case for the retention of Carrick-on-Suir as a separate local government district and requesting it to recommend to Minister Hogan to extend the life of town councils for a further year.
This would effectively mean postponing the local elections until 2015.
The town’s councillors passed a motion at their January meeting calling for this one year extension to the life of town councils. The motion is to be circulated to other councils around the country for their support.
Independent Cllr Patsy Fitzgerald, who proposed this action, said one of the reasons he was seeking a deferral of the town councils abolition was that the public indifference they had all seen and heard had turned to deep concern. People were worried whether there would be a civic authority to look after the town in the future.
The reduction in the number of councillors was going to result in a “huge deficit” in public representation for the people and this needed to be addressed, he added.
He said extending the life of the town councils for a further year would allow them to consult more fully with the people
He called on his town council colleagues to contact their local Oireachtas members and put the proposal for a deferral of the closure of town councils to them. He understood the extension of time for the town councils would only require an act of the Oireacthas.
Fianna Fail Cllr Sylvia Cooney-Sheehan said she supported anything that would further the town’s case for retaining its local government.
Her submission to the Local Electoral Area Boundary Committee would make a strong case that Carrick-on-Suir remain a centre of local government and not be merged with the Clonmel area.
Fine Gael Cllr Margaret Croke said the 10 elected members for the new electoral districts being mooted was far too few to adequately cover rural and urban areas.
She agreed they should certainly be going all out to get Carrick-on-Suir designated as a local government district.
Some councillors, however, were pessimistic about the prospects of their lobbying having any impact.
Fianna Fail Cllr Kieran Bourke said he went along with the proposals but he felt they were wasting their time putting in submissions to the Boundary Committee.
“I am not a pessimistic person, I am a glass half full person but I am afraid on this occasion there isn’t even a drop in the glass,” he declared.
Independent Cllr Pierce O’Loughlin agreed. “It’s like standing in the River Suir with your two hands out and trying to stop the tide,” he told the meeting.
But Labour Cllr Sarah Dunne said if they were going to go down they may as well go down fighting.
Cllr Fitzgerald felt it was better if councillors lodge submissions to the Boundary Committee individually rather than a joint submission being lodged by all of them collectively as they would hold greater weight. It was agreed to do this.
The deadline for submissions to the Boundary Committee is this Friday, January 25.