Wednesday 17 July 2019

Incoming Council must become more relevant to voters

Dundalk Talk

Considerably less than half the electorate in Louth, 46% to be exact, voted in the recently held local elections.

Should we be concerned . . . well to be honest, yes.

Whatever we might feel about our local councillors, or the local authority itself, they are a vital part of our democratic system that we clearly fail to cherish if 54% of us didn't bothered to register our vote, a simple task we have only to undertake every five years.

It must therefore be a priority for the newly elected councillors and their officials to do more to make the local authority on which they have been given the honour to serve much more relevant in the lives of the people of Louth.

They could help in that process by not making their council meetings a political forum in which they try to score political points over one another.

They have an excellent opportunity to do so in the new council, unlike the composition of previous councils, for no one party will dominate, and there is an excellent combination of councillors from all of the main parties as well as a very good representation from Independents.

Obviously with no party holding the balance of power there will have to be agreements between parties in the election of the chairperson and other committee posts, but once that process is complete, there should be more co-operation in the administration and conduct of the council's affairs to ensure that the best possible service is provided for the public.

This process must also involve the council officials for they have an important role to play in trying to eliminate the friction that at times surfaced during the life of the previous council and which served no real purpose.

It's a new council, a new start, and if at the end of the next five years the newly elected members and their officials manage to improve the turnout in the 2024 election they will have served the democratic process well.

The Argus