Wednesday 16 January 2019

Borough bill is past first stage

The Dáil has supported a Labour Party Bill which, if enacted, will see the restoration of Drogheda Borough Council and the creation of some new town councils across the country.

The government declined to support the legislation with Fine Gael and Independent Alliance TDs voting against allowing the Bill to proceed to the next stage.

"I am pleased to see that this important Bill for Drogheda will now move to the next stage,' Senator Ged Nash stated.

"For Borough Council status to be re-established, the law needs to be changed. This is what this Bill seeks to do. This can be a milestone for Drogheda and I am very pleased that the legislation has cleared the first hurdle.

"We will be pushing hard to see the Bill moved to Committee Stage at the earliest opportunity where it will be examined and debated in further detail."

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin TD for Louth Imelda Munster has also called on the government to reinstate Drogheda's borough council, whilst commenting that Labour's bill on the subject is "hypocritical", given the party's role in abolishing the council in the first place.

"Sinn Féin has always been in favour of retaining town councils. In fact in 2013 when Fine Gael and Labour abolished them, Sinn Féin was calling for reform, and a strengthening of powers for councils in large towns like Drogheda."

"We warned Labour that abolishing the town and borough councils would be disastrous in towns right across the state. Drogheda is a perfect example of this. Under the Labour/Fine Gael government Drogheda lost its borough council, its budget, its town clerk and any shred of local democracy it once had. Under Labour Drogheda became an afterthought, and we've been dealing with the mess they created ever since."

"We all want the councils reinstated, but unfortunately this bill will achieve nothing, and Labour knows that. In the first instance, the bill does not direct the Minister to reinstate the councils, it merely states that he "may" decide to do so. The is because Labour, as an opposition party, are unable to pass bills of this type, calling for radical change, but where Labour were in power they did the exact opposite - they abolished the town and borough councils."

Sinn Fein supported the bill.

Drogheda Independent