The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and Green Party Leader, John Gormley, launched a Green Paper Yesterday enititled “Stronger Local Democracy- Options for Change”. In his remarks on the announcment he had the following to say.
“Stronger Local Democracy presents a set of options for change which share a strong common theme of renewing local democratic leadership. Local government in Ireland is capable of doing much more to meet the needs of local communities. The options presented in this paper suggest how we might achieve that stronger local government system,”
Fine Gael’s Environment Spokesman, Phil Hogan TD, called the plan ‘High in Rhetoric but low in detail’, he explained
“The proposals include a directly elected Mayor for Dublin, with the possibility of directly elected Mayors in other cities and counties, but do not explain the functions of this office.”
Ciarán Lynch TD, Labours Spokesperson on Housing and Local Government welcomed the publication of the Green Paper, but he went to say
“The Green paper is, perhaps by its very nature, full of woolly aspiration, but it now needs to be tightened up, and flesh needs to be put on those bones. It is vital that as the reform process moves towards White Paper status, that these proposals become a reality, and not just a worthy list of aspirations that languish on the Govt’s desk, like we have seen in other areas of government.”
The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Local Government, Martin Ferris TD had the following remarks to say
“While I welcome some of the proposals including the introduction of directly elected Mayors and the provision for holding plebiscites, I believe that in general it does not go far enough in setting out guidelines for a more radical strengthening of local democracy.”
He went on to say that nothing was being done to challenge the power of City and County Managers.
The Green Paper can be downloaded from the Departments Website in PDF