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Hogan responds to outcry over plans to abolish town councils

The Minister said that councils would be given more powers – even though there would be fewer councillors.

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan
Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

PROPOSED CUTS TO town councils have led mayors in County Cork to seek a meeting with Environment Minister Phil Hogan.

RTÉ reports today that at a special meeting last night, it was decided that such a meeting should take place due to the plans to abolish the town councils.

Minister Phil Hogan

Environment Minister Phil Hogan said today on Morning Ireland that he would be giving more powers to councillors at local level.

Minister Hogan said they are looking at trying to devolve as much function as possible from central government to local level, with councillors being given more powers related to planning, roads, environmental services and more.

He also said that now there is a local source of funding for councils in the form of the Property Tax, this would also give more autonomy to local councillors.

Minister Hogan said his department is going to engage with local representatives and councillors on the issue. “They will be part of the process of engagement,” he said, adding that the legislation governing this is going through the Oireachtas process and so will be open to amendments.

He said that he believes there is a view out there that the changes are “going to be something awful”.

What I am trying to do is the opposite of what they’re saying, I’m trying to give more power and responsibility… to fewer of them but nevertheless we will have more power and autonomy at local level.

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The legislation will outline what the powers of the councillors will be. Minister Hogan said that he is trying to reverse the centralised local government system, and he thinks this should be welcomed.

The reforms were announced in October, and include cutting the number of councils operating in Ireland from 114 to 31. According to Hogan, the plans will save the State €420 million over four years. The reforms met with mixed responses.

Read: Have an opinion on council reforms? Phil Hogan wants them>

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