Corkman

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'Town councils could be scrapped next week'

THE abolition of town councils across the country could be announced as early as next Tuesday, it was claimed this week.

Cllr Pat O'Connell (FF) made the claim at Tuesday night's meeting of Macroom Town Council, having attended a conference last week at which local government minister Phil Hogan gave a speech on the future of local authorities.

"From what I can gather, there is going to be reform but as to what kind he didn't tell us. It seems to be that town councils will be abolished and replaced with municipal district councils," Cllr O'Connell explained.

"If town councils go, Macroom will be dead. It will be a disaster for the town because it will be replaced by a municipal council with six or seven members for the entire Macroom electoral area, not the town," he added.

Cllr Connie Foley (Ind) accused Minister Hogan of ' not knowing what he is doing.'

"He calls this reform, but it's not reform, it is destruction. Go to Italy or France and you'll see the smallest hamlets with local representation," he said.

Mayor of Macroom Owen McCarthy (FF) said the issue was ' the single biggest challenge to come before the council.

"I am pleading with all members of the council to unite on this, we really need our TDs behind us. They have depended on our support in the past, this is our time," he said.

"The public and businesses don't know how important this is. Our rates are lower than the county council's. Picture what we give to clubs and charities at Christmas, all disappearing," he said.

Cllr O'Connell added that the McCarthy ' An Bord Snip Nua' Report estimated that scrapping town councils would save the exchequer €6 million. "That is a dot in the grand scheme of things," he said.