Green Party Leader, Eamon Ryan, has reiterated his contention that the appointment process for the three new regional assemblies will give Fine Gael a disproportionate influence and advantage over other parties.
Ryan said, “Micheál Martin was wrong yesterday in saying that my own speech backed up the concerns that he is now raising about gerrymandering of the local council election process. My concerns centre around the appointment of the new regional assemblies, rather than local councils.
“The regional assemblies will be made up with two councillors selected from each of the constituent local authorities. As the largest party in every national poll, it is hard to see how Fine Gael will not be able to secure one of those two seats in every council, which could give them 50% of the representation in each regional assembly.
“The new regional authorities will have a critical role in planning spatial and economic development strategies, as well as overseeing the work of the local councils and European funding. The Mahon Tribunal recommended they should be directly elected and seperate to the local authorities, but the lessons are being ignored. Have they learnt nothing from the planning corruption that blighted Irish politics for the last thirty years?
“Phil Hogan came out fighting when it came to the allegations of bias in the design of new local constituencies but he has said nothing about the real fix that is occurring at a regional level. We await clarification to show how the proposed structure could not lead to anything but a disproportionate share of regional power being handed over to Fine Gael.”