Offaly's town councils are to be abolished as part of new reforms revealed today (Tuesday) by Minister Phil Hogan. The Environment Minister has proposed cutting all 80 town councils across the country as part of a local government reform action plan entitled "Putting People First". The plan, which was unveiled at Dublin Castle, was described by Taoiseach Enda Kenny as "one of the most radical, ambitious and far reaching governance reform plans ever put forward by an Irish Government".
Councils countrywide are to be reduced in number from 114 to 31, leading to savings of €420m when fully implemented according to Minister Hogan. In the place of town councils will be municipal districts, with councillors elected to municipal districts sitting on the county council. Councillor numbers are to be reduced by some 42 per cent, down to a proposed 950 from current numbers of 1,627.
"The development of municipal districts, in replacement of all other forms of sub county bodies, will act as a platform for stronger, more efficient and more accountable local governance," Mr Kenny insisted today. "The new municipal districts based around urban centres and their hinterland will continue to offer local leadership and services at a level closest to the people, but the duplication at county level will end," he added.
For reaction see Friday's Offaly Independent.