Local authority reform is fast-track out of Government
HERE's how to lose an election. Charge every motorist in the country a fee to use roads the taxpayer has already paid for. Levy a fine on the elderly who want to pay their motor tax but can't use the internet. Strip hundreds of local councillors in towns across Ireland of the few powers they have and hey presto -- you're in opposition.
The changes proposed by the Local Government Efficiency Review Group are badly needed, but with a general election due in 2012 -- and possibly earlier -- there's little appetite for introducing the most controversial recommendations.
County, city, town and borough councillors were quick to roll-out the "erosion of local democracy" line yesterday after the group said 20 local authorities should be merged into 10.