Sunday 11 December 2016

Fianna Fáil calls for return of town councils

Published 03/10/2016 | 02:30

A separate bill being brought forward by Offaly TD Barry Cowen calls for the re-establishment of town councils in towns with populations of at least 7,500. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
A separate bill being brought forward by Offaly TD Barry Cowen calls for the re-establishment of town councils in towns with populations of at least 7,500. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

The appointment of a directly elected mayor for Dublin and the reinstatement of councils for towns with populations of over 7,500 are among a raft of proposals being brought forward by Fianna Fáil in the coming weeks.

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The party will call for a referendum on a directly elected mayor in the capital - just two years after the issue ran into controversy. A similar proposal put forward by the former Environment Minister Phil Hogan fell in 2014 after the majority of councillors in Fingal opposed the idea.

But Fianna Fáil's Dublin spokesperson, John Lahart, has drafted a new bill that will recommend that a "plebiscite" be put to the people.

Party sources say they anticipate that the vote would take place in late 2017, if the bill is passed by the Dáil.

A separate bill being brought forward by Offaly TD Barry Cowen calls for the re-establishment of town councils in towns with populations of at least 7,500.

Fianna Fáil sources say they expect both bills will receive significant support when they are tabled in the Dáil in the coming weeks.

Party TDs and senators have been provided with a list of over 20 private members' bills that will be brought forward during the course of the Dáil term.

The party's health spokesperson Billy Kelleher is to table the Fat, Salt and Sugar Advertising Bill which will place restrictions on the contents of advertising by the likes of fast-food giants.

Also in the area of health, Fianna Fáil TD Willie O'Dea has drafted a bill that proposes placing access to home help services on a statutory footing.

If passed, this would mean everyone would have a legal right to home-help care, similar to a nursing home bed.

Health Minister Simon Harris last week indicated that the Government is considering such a move.

Irish Independent

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