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Dublin city councillors at odds over increase in... Dublin councillors

Fianna Fáil are opposed to Minister Phil Hogan’s proposals, while Fine Gael, Sinn Féin and Labour support them.

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan
Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan
Image: Wanderley Massafelli/Photocall Ireland

DUBLIN CITY’S FINE Gael, Sinn Féin and Labour councillors are at odds with their Fianna Fáil colleagues over a planned increase in the number of councillors under new reforms.

Ahead of this week’s expected handing in of the Local Electoral Area Boundary Committee report to the Minister for the Environment and Local Government, Phil Hogan, Fine Gael and Labour city Councillors have defended the government’s decision to increase the number of councillors in Dublin by more than 50.

A Fianna Fáil motion objecting to the increase was put before the city council, but Labour, Fine Gael and Sinn Fein councillors voted in favour of the increase (17 against, 6 in favour, 1 abstention and the remainder absent), Fianna Fáil Cllr Paul McAuliffe said.

Reform

Hogan established the Local Electoral Area Boundary Committee, under which the increase will occur.

The reforms will also see the number of councillors reduced by 42 per cent nationwide, and the number of local authorities slashed from 114 to 31.

The moves will save the State €420 million over four years, Minister Hogan said.

Responding to the terms of reference of the committee, Fianna Fáil City Councillor Paul McAuliffe described the proposals as “a gross waste of public money and a blatant attempt to keep government councillors in their jobs”.

The terms of reference could see an increase of between 53 and 65 extra councillors in the capital increasing Fingal, South Dublin and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown to at least 40 and Dublin City to 63.

“Increasing the number of councillors in Dublin is just ‘jobs for the boys’,” said Cllr McAuliffe, who believes Dublin does not need more councillors.

He further said that the Minister’s proposals are “a missed opportunity to provide real reform for local government”.

International experience tells us that in a large city like Dublin, we actually need less councillors who have more of their time focused on running the city.
The cost of these proposals could reach in the region of €1 million which at a time when we are cutting home help and services to disabled children is unjustified.

The committee was asked to review electoral areas and to report to Minister Hogan no later than 31 May 2013.  Their report will be considered by Hogan as the basis for the revision of the local electoral areas.

Read: Number of local authorities to be slashed from 114 to 31>

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