One of the recommendations made in the Mahon Report, which is more then likely going to be over looked as most of the media will be looking at the findings against former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and others, is that Regional Authorities be directly elected.
The Tribunal is making this decision due to the role that the Regional Authorities play in Regional Planning Guidelines (RPGs) which has an impact on Local Devlopment Plans and other decisions made by local authorities.
There is not much knowledge of Regional Authorities in Ireland, which were set up under the Local Government Act 1991 and came into existence in 1994. There are eight Regional Authorities in Ireland.
The membership of the Regional Authorities varies between 21 in Mid-East Region to 37 in the Border Region. Currently the members of the Regional Authorities are nominated by the local authorities within the area covered.
An elected Regional Authority would be an important step in increasing local power and would be a good position in between Government and Local Government to negotiate policy for the regions and allow local governments to spend more time on local issues and have support from a Religion Authority.
Hopefully the Government will look at all the recommendations contained in the Mahon Report and not just those in connection with ethics and declarations of donations.
13 County and City Councils will today decide which candidate to back in the years Presidential Election. Four Local Authorities nominations are needed by a candidate to be on the ballot.
So far four Councils have passed nominations. Galway County Council and Sligo County Council have nominated Mary Davis. While Meath County Council and Leitrim County Council have nominated Sean Gallagher.
Of the Councils meeting today, Mary Davis is expected to secure the nomination of six councils: Monaghan, Kerry, Mayo, Waterford county, Wicklow and Galway city. She will also be addressing Cork County Council today.
Mr Gallagher is also set to get support from six of the councils meeting today: Carlow, Wexford, Cork city, Clare, Cavan and Waterford city. He will be addressing both Wexford and Carlow Councils today.
If all the councils pass as expected then that will give each candidate 8 nominations each and ensure their place on the Presidential Ballot.
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council will also today discuss nominating a candidate for the Presidential Election. Four motions have been laid before the council. Two are in support of Mary Davis, while the Labour Grouping have placed a nomination for Micheal D Higgins and the Fine Gael Grouping have nominated Gay Mitchell.
Fine Gael is the largest party on Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown with 12 seats, followed by Labour with 8. Fianna Fail have 4 and PBPA and Independents have two each. It is doubtful any candidate will get enough support, but will be interesting to watch.
Expect the nominations to roll in quick and fast as the councils meet this afternoon.
I have finished another week on the door steps and this week saw me canvassing for Jerry Buttimer and Deridre Clune.
On Monday we were out canvassing in Ballinlough for Jerry Buttimer and we got a good response. I got my first local issue on the door that night. Someone was giving out about City Council and the pothole outside their house. This was no ordinary pothole though! It was huge! So she had to complain! Thankfully Enda had decided to turn up to the debate on Monday so there was no questioning like the last time.
On Tuesday I was out in Ballinlough, again out canvassing for Jerry. This was the day that the Irish Language Policy really became an issue on the doors. I only got it the once, and I managed to canvass that vote as Gaeilge! I was very proud of myself! Enda’s debate performance was raised and it certainly impressed people.
Yesterday was my longest day of canvassing yet. It started with being collected at 7:45am by Jerry to canvass early morning traffic! This is a hard canvass as it can be difficult to interact with people, but people were receptive and will to take the literature.
After a coffee break we were down in Mahon at lunch time. It was a hit and miss area as a lot of homes were empty with the time of day and all that. But people were quite open to being engaged with. After another coffee break in Mahon Community Centre we headed out to Douglas to do a few estates. At this point I was drenched to the bone and my knee was acting up. I did canvass a number of houses, and got a good response, (limping always brings out the sympathy!) by the end of the canvass I was told to stay in the car cause I was in too much pain!
After going home and drying and dosing myself I headed out again (glutton for punishment I am!) This time to Donnybrook with Deirdre Clune. We got an amazing response and quite a number of people wanted to engage with us. Which is good. There was questions on one-party government, jobs, public sector, tax, education and student nurses. A really interesting canvass. I finally finished canvassing at 9pm! Thats makes it at about 13 hours of canvassing! Not to be done in rain I will advise! I have at least 2 more full days planned next week! Its going to be a long week!
Tomorrow is the last week of canvassing and it will be a case of canvassing up until the last moment. So dont be surprised if there is no update until election day! and remember be nice to canvassers!
Artists and creative practitioners have a rich history of co-opting ’slack spaces’, vacant, unused commercial units, to realise art projects, create ‘pop-up’ galleries and to establish studio spaces. Now City Councils, landlords, estate agents and universities are also embracing these opportunities in the post-Celtic Tiger recession era to develop new working strategies for the use, reuse and new use of these inner-city spaces.
National Sculpture Factory as part of Art Trail 09 will host a public debate on possible new strategies for the creative development of these empty commercial spaces, from existing working models like Creative Limerick, part of a Limerick City Council strategy, and those used by the Waterford City Council Arts Office among others.
It sounds like an interesting idea and there is a Public Forum afterwords. The use of unused commercial properties is becoming an issue in Cork and allowing artists to use them in the short-term could be a nice way to actually highlight their potential. I may go along to this!