Councillor James O’Sullivan of Greystones Town Council addressed the Fine Gael Ard Fheis at the Convention Centre in Dublin over the weekend speaking on the topic of Local Government reform. The debate, with Ministers Leo Varadkar, Phil Hogan and Fergus O’Dowd focused on how Fine Gael in Government can radically change how local authorities such as Wicklow County Council operate.
During the ‘Planning for a better future’ debate, the motion, submitted by the Greystones Branch of the party read ‘That this Ard Fheis supports the fundamental overhaul and reform of Local Government and calls upon the Government to strive for increased efficiencies in Local Government, to devolve more functions to local authorities’.
During his address to the Ard Fheis, Councillor O’Sullivan said, “Only recently upon the publication of the Mahon Report, we saw the very worst failures of Local Government. Never again can we allow this to happen. In order to move forward, we must adopt a new approach for local democracy. These reforms must be far-reaching and centre around the principles of efficiency and transparency.”
“We must radically change how local authorities operate by giving them greater financial independence and in return seeking greater accountability for the taxpayer”, stated Councillor O’Sullivan.
“As a member of a local authority, I’ve seen first hand the best and worst of Local Government. Our local authorities should be run on a commercial basis and elected members should operate like a Board of Directors. They should be given the same powers and held to account for their decisions.”
“Fine Gael in Government can deliver this long awaited reform and let that be our legacy. I commend this motion to the Ard Fheis”, concluded Councillor O’Sullivan.
A vote was then held on the motion, which passed unanimously.