The Association of Municipal Authorities of Ireland (AMAI) say town councils should be reformed, not abolished.
They argue that government has not learned the lessons of the Seanad referendum.
Their statement adds: “The Local Government Reform Bill, published today (Thursday) by the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan TD, will abolish town councils, destroy local democracy and centralise powers away from communities according to the Association of Municipal Authorities of Ireland (AMAI), the representative body of Town Councils.”
“Town Councils currently have the power to determine local charges, such as commercial rates or parking charges, and to then decide how these monies are spent within their towns, such as community groups, residents associations and sporting groups. This power is now being taken away,” according to Councillor Willie Callaghan, President of the AMAI.
The Bill provides for the abolition of the 80 Town Councils across Ireland, which will be replaced by new entities, Municipal District Councils (MDCs). These MDCs will be much larger entities, encompassing both urban and rural areas. Town Councils will lose their independent financial revenue raising powers. Instead, MDCs will now be handed down annual financial allocations, irrespective of the actual amount of monies raised within each MDC.