Wednesday 23 January 2019

Councillors want more functions at district level

Myles Buchanan

Members of Wicklow Municipal District have welcomed efforts to transfer certain reserve functions carried out at Wicklow County Council level back to the municipal districts.

Local area plans and Part 8 plans for projects being pursued by the local authority are the two main functions which could be carried out by municipal districts once the full document comes before an upcoming Wicklow County Council meeting. However, matters that are considered of strategic importance to the whole county will still go before Wicklow County Council.

Speaking at last Monday's meeting of Wicklow Municipal District, Cllr John Snell said: 'This is a good thing and a number of local authorities have been doing this for a couple of years. There were a number of contentious issues that came before the full council meeting that should have been resolved in Bray and unfortunately took up a lot of time at the council meetings and special meetings. I believe the eight municipal district councillors in Bray could have dealt with it.'

However, a number of councillors took issue with the fact that the cathaoirleach would have the deciding vote if the six members are evenly split.

'The cathaoirleach shouldn't have the casting vote. It should be referred to the full council or certainly to the corporate policy group,' said Cllr Snell.

Cllr Irene Winters also felt the cathaoirleach shouldn't have the casting vote.

'Take a Part 8 for Fitzwilliam Square where the vote could be split three each. Realistically, it isn't of strategic importance to the whole county but if the local members can't decide I would think it should go to the full council rather than a casting vote,' said Cllr Winters.

Cllr Gail Dunne said he was surprised how much time at county council level was spent dealing with issues which should be tackled at municipal district level.

'I'm not sure we are doing all our work. Every time I go to a full council meeting someone from Bray or Greystones is holding up the meeting asking for a suspension of standing orders'.

'That's because we do our job in this district,' commented Cllr Snell.

District cathaoirleach Cllr Daire Nolan also lent his support to the document.

'Too often we see the full meeting taken up with local issues that are brought up rather than actual council actions'.

Wicklow People