Minister Phil Hogan has been confirmed to deliver the keynote Allingham Lecture in Ballyshannon on November 8th.
Minister Hogan, last year announced major changes to reform local government and the detail to go with that announcement is eagerly awaited, making this Ballyshannon event particularly important.
Legislation, to be published shortly, will map out the future for local government in Ireland.
Minister Hogan’s attendance has been secured as part of the Ballyshannon 400 celebrations which have been ongoing throughout 2013. The Allingham Arts Festival which runs in the town from 7th to 10th November.
“Local Government Reform – will it put Citizens and Local Communities First?” is the title of this year’s annual Allingham Lecture and it is expected the minister will offer detail on his plans which will see the abolition of town councils across Ireland. This will be the first time Minister Hogan will speak in depth about the plans for reform and his comments are expected to attract widespread national interest.
The event will also see key contributions from leading national academics (to be confirmed), who will join Minister Hogan for a panel session following his lecture. Further details of the final panel of speakers will be released through the offices of the town council later this week.
Cllr John Meehan, Mayor of Ballyshannon and President Elect of the A.M.A.I., said he expects that the Hogan lecture “will provide timely and important clarity on what are the exact details of Minister Hogan’s planned reforms and his comments are awaited with great interest by all who have a role or an interest in local democracy across the island of Ireland.
“Since Minister Hogan made his initial announcement last October, there has been much speculation as to the fine detail behind that announcement, and my hope and expectation is that this lecture will offer us a clearer picture of the road ahead.
“It is a source of great pride and historic in its own way that we can bring such a major national figure as Minister Hogan to Ballyshannon as part of our year long programme of events to mark the 400th anniversary of formal local authority activity in Ballyshannon.”
Liam Ward, Director of Service, Donegal County Council and Ballyshannon Town Manager, commended Ballyshannon 400 on their latest initiative and added: “Like so many people involved in local democracy I await the Minister’s insight with great interest, and I suggest his comments in Ballyshannon will be eagerly read, listened to and analysed nationally and locally, underlining the significance and timing of this particular lecture.”Note for editors:
About Ballyshannon 400
This year, Ballyshannon 400 is marking 400 years of local government in the town. King James created 40 towns in Ireland to encourage urban development in Ireland. Ballyshannon was one of these forty towns (which included Belfast, Sligo, Castlebar, Ennis and Tralee) and was granted a charter on 23 March 1613. The charter was a written constitution setting up Ballyshannon’s first ever town council called Ballyshannon Corporation. The present Ballyshannon Town Council was established in 1841 and although initially the vote was confined to a propertied minority, it became a democratic body in 1899. Along with all the other town councils in the State, it is due to be abolished next year, thus bringing to an end 400 years of municipal government in the town.
About the Allingham Arts Festival
The Norwegian Ambassador, Mr Roald Naess will open what promises to be an extremely topical and varied programme of events for the Allingham Arts Festival 2013 on Thursday November 7th. The programme will include: The fascinating discovery of Allingham family writings and music by researcher Eva Hov in Trondheim, Norway which have not been seen for 200 years; the launch of a new book ‘Coach’ by Terry Prone; Acclaimed poets, authors and musicians Rita Anne Higgins, Colm Keegan, John Sheahan (Dubliners) and John Spillane among others will also be there to workshop and entertain.