Labour look to reintroduce Town Councils
Labour Party Leader Brendan Howlin will today introduce a new bill to the Dáil aimed at reintroducing town councils.
The Local Government (Restoration of Town Councils) Bill 2018 would provide for defined urban areas with a population of at least 5,000 to be considered by a Local Government Commission for the purposes of establishing a town council.
Deputy Howlin said:
“We have identified a clear problem, which is that national and regional level public bodies have lost focus on urban development. And whole towns are missing out on opportunities for economic development due to the lack of a local figurehead, such as a mayor, to promote the town.
“Town-level local government can be more responsive to people’s concerns, quicker to react to issues and provides clear accountability in relation to money being invested to address local needs.
“The purpose of this Labour Party Bill is to provide a mechanism for the restoration of Town Councils in urban areas with a population of at least 5,000 residents, and 1,000 or more dwellings with a clearly defined urban centre.
“We want a Local Government Commission to consider and define each qualifying town. We provide that each Council would elect a minimum of 9 town councillors. For towns with a population over 25,000, 15 Councillors would be elected. There would be one local electoral area for each town.
“The new town councils would be a body corporate, and under our proposals a rating authority. Every enactment that applied to old town councils would be restored under our Bill.
“Our Bill proposes that the costs of restoring Town Councils will be met from existing resources.
“The abolition of our lowest tier of local government as part of major reforms in 2014 is a decision I regret and want to rectify. The needs of our towns are not being sufficiently met through the new arrangements that were introduced then. We need to restore strong local democracy.”