Below is the report I delivered to the Labour Party’s Dublin South East Constituency Council meeting this evening (16th May).
Report to Dublin South East Constituency Council – May 16th.
The main issue of concern to the Council is the same as the Country – Finance. However in the case of Local Government the problem is compounded by the systematic withdrawal of funding over the last twenty years or so and the reliance on Development levies as substitute funding.
I had previously proposed that the Council write to the Government seeking the acquisition of the Bank of Ireland building on College Green for Public use and welcome what appears to be Government action on same.
Following the General Election Paddy Bourke has been elected Leader of the Labour Group and I have been elected as Secretary/Whip.
I have also taken over as Chairperson of the Housing, Social and Community Affairs Strategic Policy Committee. In that capacity I have set two immediate targets – tackling the scandal of the “voids” or empty housing units of which today there are 655 needing upgrade and a “demolish and rebuild” project for a particularly inadequate set of Council flats. I am hoping this can be done in conjunction with a Voluntary Housing Association and am meeting with them and Council Officials this week to advance this project.
If the Government seriously wants a jobs creation project tackling the “voids” by allowing us employ additional maintenance staff and enabling the release of these units back on to the rental market would be both economically and socially sensible.
During and since the General Election there has been a lot of discussion about Political Reform. In my view there is simply no point reforming our national Political structures if we do not reform Local Government. This is not an optional extra – it is integral to genuine and democratic reform.