A Granard Town councillor has sensationally described tomorrowâ€™s (Thursday) visit by Environment Minister Phil Hogan to open the north Longford townâ€™s newly refurbished Market House community library as â€œa slap in the face to the people of Granard.â€
Cllr Eddie Kelly said he wonâ€™t be attending tomorrowâ€™s ceremony on a point of principle following the Environment ministerâ€™s decision to abolish town councils.
Those plans, which will see 80 town councils up and down the country being scrapped after this monthâ€™s local and European elections, is part of a wider plan to transform local government.
But it is the expected attendance of the man which led that charge to Granard tomorrow that prompted Cllr Kelly to speak out on the matter.
â€œNo, I wonâ€™t be going,â€ explained Cllr Kelly. â€œHe (Mr Hogan) did away with democracy in this country at the stroke of a pen.â€
Itâ€™s not the first time he has directed his anger at the Environment Ministerâ€™s door either.
A long serving member of the Association of Municipal Authorities of Ireland (AMAI), Cllr Kelly has regularly made his feelings known about the impending abolition of town councils at local authority meetings.
Instead of overhauling the local authority structures , Cllr Kelly said greater focus should be directed at lowering the age profile of candidates seeking election.
Cllr Kelly plans to keep up that criticism by refusing to attend tomorrowâ€™s grand opening. .
â€œItâ€™s a slap in the face to the people of Granard, thatâ€™s the way I see it,â€ he said of Minister Hoganâ€™s visit.
He went on to claim that the visit was a â€˜publicity stuntâ€™.
â€œAnd I tell you this, itâ€™s nothing more than a publicity stunt for Fine Gael.
â€œThey were the ones when they came into government who were supposed to be up front and transparent, but the whole thing is worse now than it ever was.â€
Asked if he thought any of his fellow councillors might join him in protest, Cllr Kelly was unrepentant.
â€œI donâ€™t know if anyone will (join in protest),â€ he replied.
â€œYou know me, I am a one man band. I just feel for him (Mr Hogan) to be invited is an insult to the people of Granard.â€
Minister Hogan will be in Granard to open the multi-million euro revamp of Granardâ€™s Market House which is also home to the townâ€™s library.