Councillor welcomes abolition of council

Out of 36 councillors who will lose their positions on town councils in Donegal, just one has said she is happy about the news.

Out of 36 councillors who will lose their positions on town councils in Donegal, just one has said she is happy about the news.

Cllr Florence Doherty (Ind) has for years advocated that her town council in Bundoran should be abolished, despite the fact that she was a member of that council.

Now, thanks to Minister Phil Hogan’s decision to abolish town councils, Cllr Doherty’s wish appears to have come true and she is in the unique position of being happy about it.

Cllr Doherty told the Donegal Democrat yesterday: “I’m glad to hear it. This is something that I have been calling for over the years.

“The broad concept of of local government is a great idea but I don’t believe it’s worked in Bundoran. I think it’s been divisive and a deterrent to the people of the town doing things for themselves.

“It’s been divisive because there has been too much focus on tourism at the expense of other areas.

“We have a great budget (approximately €2m per annum) and the elected representatives should direct the offiicals to use the budget to improve the quality of life for the people of Bundoran but that doesn’t happen.

“There are very few people making really big money out of tourism in Bundoran. Yes, people get work cleaning or as waitresses during the season but those aren’t career jobs that people aspire to. I’m involved in tourism myself, so I know.

“I feel the budget would be better spent if a broader outlook was taken to create jobs across a variety of growth sectors, so that the smart, gifted young people of Bundoran would be able to stay here instead of go where the jobs are.

“I think the council has hindered rather than helped the sense of community initiative in Bundoran. I’m hoping now that the people of Bundoran will reclaim the streets, the open spaces and the facilities in the town from the council.

“I hope that the offices will be handed to the people for a community facility, as well as other assets including maintenance equipment.

“I know the community spirit and pride that exists here and I’m sure people will look after the town and I want them to be in charge of what happens here.”

While Cllr Doherty is happy, other councillors the Democrat spoke to are not - see their reaction on page 4.