Donegal Deputy Charlie McConalogue has said the Local Government Bill published this week will see more power removed from Donegal communities.
The Fianna Fáil Deputy has heavily criticised the plan which will see Letterkenny, Buncrana, Ballyshannon and Bundoran Town Councils scrapped along with all other town councils across the country.
Deputy McConalogue has accused the Government of ignoring local representatives and members of the public right across Donegal who do not want their local councils abolished.
“It seems the Government has learned nothing from the Seanad Referendum. Despite all the opposition from Town Councillors, and even Oireachtas members from all sides across Donegal, Ministers are just ploughing ahead with a plan that undermines local democracy and pushes Donegal communities even further away from the decision-making process,” said Deputy McConalogue.
“People in Donegal have been very clear that they want local decisions made by local people. The very last thing that Donegal needs is to be further removed from the democratic process, but that is exactly what will happen under that Bill. By abolishing the four town Councils in Donegal, the Government is robbing these towns of local representation to fight their corner in difficult times. The replacement is new Municipal District Councils – a very vague concept with non-existent resources.
“The Government has ignored the public’s cry for real political reform and has wasted yet another opportunity to reform how politics works. Instead of listening to the people and making changes that will enhance local democracy and empower communities, Minister Phil Hogan has gone in the opposite direction by undermining local democracy.
“Local Fine Gael and Labour have said they recognise the need to retain our town councils on the one hand, but on the other they are standing by as their Minister abolishes those councils. They need to stand up for Donegal communities and ensure that the strong will of the people in Donegal is represented at a national level before these highly damaging decisions are made.
“Irish politics needs to be reformed from the bottom up. This Bill fails that test. Fianna Fáil will shortly publish our own detailed proposals on reforming local government, improving community engagement and enhancing the power of communities at a local level,” said Deputy McConalogue.