Monday 26 June 2017

Councils: Third of managers would go in merger proposal

Paul Melia

Paul Melia

UP to 20 local authorities should be merged into 10 "joint administrative areas" which would result in one in three local authority managers losing their jobs under the new proposals.

The Local Government Efficiency Review Group claims the move would result in increased efficiencies in planning, housing and service provision and represent better value for money for the taxpayer.

It called for the right to grant planning permission, approve roads projects, provide social housing and set commercial rates to be removed from town councils.

It recommends transferring these powers to county council level which it estimates would save €6m.

"This agenda of abolishing town councils is being pursued by the Department of Environment for years and raises its head in every such report despite never being in the terms of reference of these groups," the Association of Municipal Authorities said in a statement.

Cynical

"Colm McCarthy's Bord Snip report came to a similar conclusion without being asked to examine this area. It makes for a very cynical view of the independence of these groups and brings to mind the expression 'he who pays the piper calls the tune'.''

Dissolving joint drainage and burial boards is also recommended in the report, along with merging the functions of county development boards into the local authorities.

The changes, if implemented, would result in 20 local authorities being merged and the number of county managers falling from 34 to 24.

The plan would see the following councils merged: Mayo and Roscommon; Sligo and Leitrim; Waterford City and County; North and South Tipperary; Cavan and Monaghan; Longford and Westmeath; Limerick City and County; Carlow and Kilkenny; Laois and Offaly; and Galway City and County.

The report said a separate study on the four Dublin local authorities should be carried out. Between them they employ one in four of the entire 32,252 local authority staff.

Ned Gleeson, chairman of the County and City Managers Association said: "Inevitably, further cuts will affect the current level of services provided by local authorities."

Irish Independent

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