Monday 22 January 2018

Winding up council will 'take the heart of out Balbriggan'

THE ABOLITION of Balbriggan Town Council, which has been in existence for over 150 years, will ' take the heart out of the town', one local councillor has claimed.

Cllr. Grainne Maguire (NP) told the Fingal Independent that while town councillors knew it was coming, she didn't think the reforms were going to be as severe as this. 'I didn't think he was going to get rid of all the Town Councils.' She said if the town council was abolished, its civic role in Balbriggan would be missed and that nothing could replace that.

'At the end of the day we have until 2014 to continue our work but it is such a pity that he's made a decision that affects so many people. It won't be until after we are gone that the effect of the decision will be known.'

Cllr. Maguire attended a meeting of the governing representative body, the AMAI in Naas on Saturday, where it was decided that a working group would ask every town council to submit questions which they would collate and then put to the Environment Minister at a meeting they would be requesting. She said it was a long meeting on Saturday and ' there were more questions than answers'. ' The general feeling was that they were totally against the abolition of the town council.

However, if the reforms are for the betterment of the people, we will have to work with it.' ' There were a lot of questions relating to the future of the assets belonging to all the town councils. Buildings like the Town Hall belong to the people of the town and it is not as straightforward as handing it over to the county council.' She said that AMAI members had also questions relating to the gratuity payments for councils that wold be stepping down. Cllr. Maguire added that a lot would depend on the Boundary Commission's decisions regarding electoral areas, which was expected to be published by next March, as to whether the new reforms, including the municipal districts, would work.

'There is a lot to be worked on. Eighteen months until the next Local Elections will go in the blink of an eye. There is a lot of hard work to be done and things to be ironed out before then,' she said. Balbriggan Town Councillors will also be discussing the issue at its next meeting on November 6.

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