Sunday 20 August 2017

Battle for the Borough



THE BATTLE to save Sligo Borough Council has begun.

Sligo's Mayor David Cawley is to join forces with the other four Borough Councils in Ireland.

The Mayor is to meet with the mayors of Clonmel, Drogheda, Kilkenny and Wexford in the coming weeks to formulate a proposal to save Borough status.

"I want to see the Borough name preserved no matter what happens," Clr Cawley said.

He met with various party whips on Friday last to discuss a plan of action.

He described the launch of the proposals in Dublin Castle as "a PR stunt".

"In one place it was claimed they would save €420 million, in another over €420 million and in another up to €420 million.

"It could be more or less. Nothing is detailed," the Mayor said.

At the monthly meeting, councillors unanimously supported a motion expressing dismay at the proposal to abolish all borough and town councils in the State and called on the Government to rescind it.

Clr Bree described it as a "retrograde" step. "To hand over the finances and resources of the Borough to Sligo County Council will prove disastrous for the future of development of Sligo, "he said.

Clr Bree pointed out that the County Council's capital debt was now €73 million and the revenue deficit €13 million and was growing every day. But, he said, the elected councillors on the Borough Council had acted prudently over the years.

"In this context, isn't it extraordinary that the Government and the Minister would want the Borough Council merged with the County Council," Clr Bree said.

Clr MacManus said that while Sinn Féin supported local government reform, they felt this was a missed opportunity by the Minister. "This certainly doesn't put people first in relation to the city of Sligo," he said.

Clr Jim McGarry said sadly they were talking about the abolition of the Borough Council.

"This is a day the people of Sligo will regret. They will be the losers," he said.

Clr Rosaleen O'Grady said she did not envy the mayors in their task of trying to change the Minister's mind – if they got to meet him.