Minister well out of his depth and failing in his responsibilities

07 September 2018

Speaking today in response to Minister Eoghan Murphy’s threat to cut the role of local authorities, Labour Leader Brendan Howlin called this either a hollow threat or a foolish suggestion, either of which indicates a Minister well out of his depth and failing in his responsibilities.

Deputy Howlin said: “This is either a hollow threat from Minister Murphy or a very foolish suggestion. The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government obviously does not have the right type or quantity of staff required to take over the housing functions of local government, which can involve a number of specialist roles in planning, building, and commissioning.

“For Minister Murphy to suggest taking powers away from local government is a failure to recognise that part of the problem is too much centralisation in Dublin. What local government needs is to be given the resources and responsibility to get on and deliver for local people, without delays created by central departments. Labour would not only invest €16 billion in social and affordable housing but would develop Housing Executives on a regional basis to re-develop local government capacity to deliver.

“The attempt by the Conservative Party in the UK to take back powers from councils was a complete disaster, but it seems that our own conservatives haven’t learned anything from their sister party.

“More importantly, this suggestion is a new low for a Fine Gael minister in terms of dodging responsibility. Irish law is very clear that a Minister is singularly and solely responsible for the actions of his or her department and agencies under that department’s control.

“When the manager starts blaming the players for losing the match, its time for the board to consider a new manager.”

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