Fianna Fáil manifesto will pledge to restore abolished town councils
The restoration of town councils is expected to form a central plank of the Fianna Fáil General Election manifesto, the Irish Independent has learned.
The party is to propose re- establishing councils that were previously abolished, as well creating a small number of new councils in heavily populated areas.
The decision to scrap town councils was made as part of former Environment Minister Phil Hogan's overhaul of local government. The move reduced the number of councillors from 1,627 to 949.
But several government figures, including Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin, have expressed regret over the decision.
Mr Hogan's successor, Labour deputy leader Alan Kelly, has also expressed his dissatisfaction.
Fianna Fail's Environment spokesman Barry Cowen said that scrapping the councils was a populist decision and one which should be reversed.
"We opposed the cull of town councils. We said it would disempower communities, diminish local democracy. This has proven to be correct. We are discussing the reintroduction of town councils as we continue to prepare our manifesto. We expect new town councils will be determined by population levels yet to be determined," he said.
"The Government, in their rush to appear populist in reducing politicians, has undone much good work, effort and example as witnessed in the likes of Westport, Tullamore and Killarney to name a few.
"We are also examining extending the roll-out of such town councils in Dublin too; potential examples include Ringsend."