The Green Party today criticised Local Authorities and the Minister for Local Government for failing to move towards any meaningful reform, public accountability, transparency and participation in decision making processes.
Commenting following the publication of Transparency International Ireland’s latest Integrity Report on 31 Local Authorities under the headings of transparency, accountability and ethics, Green Party spokesperson for Local Government, Cllr Malcolm Noonan said that the report found significant inconsistencies across local government with only one smaller Council; Monaghan appearing in the top five.
Noonan described the report as evidence that Phil Hogan’s 2014 local government reforms had failed to put people first.
“This report makes for grim reading as we face into yet another ‘reform’ process under Minister of State John Paul Phelan. His former constituency colleague Phil Hogan tore local governance to shreds in his ‘Putting People First’ plan, taking both power and resources away from local authorities, creating cumbersome structures for public engagement and failing to enact reforms that would hold both the executive and councillors to account for their actions in spending public money.
“In my own engagement with Minister Phelan I have asked that he looks beyond electoral boundary issues, but devolves more power to Local Authorities in areas such as public banking, transportation and mobility management. This report raises serious questions regarding most local authorities capacity to take on enhanced roles given that many seem incapable of having systems in place that account for public spending or embed participative methodologies for public engagement.
“The Green Party proposes that Minister Phelan would consider this report in his reform process and respond accordingly. Participative budgeting, greater and more timely availability of all information relating to spending, participative planning, attendance by elected members, live streaming of Council meetings, full implementation of the Public Participation Directive; we see these as essential components of a well-functioning and inclusive local government system. Minister Phelan must do better than his predecessor and introduce meaningful reforms that are citizen centred and inclusive.”
Transparency International Ireland Report available here.
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