The Longford County Development Board (CDB)is to be dissolved and replaced with a County Development Committee as part of the new local government rerforms.
During the final meeting of the current Longford County Council, Director of Services, Frank Sheridan informed members that the new committee needed to be ratified by June 1 next.
There was consternation over what members described as “a rush job” to set up the new system.
“I think the whole thing is being rushed,” said Cllr Denis Glennon (FF), who is retiring for the local political arena at the end of this month.
“As far as I’m concerned this is all being made up as we go along and it is not good enough.
Will there be redundancies and job losses as a result of all this? So many unanswered questions.”
Cllr Mark Casey added, “Yes there is a lot of smoke around this and I think it would be better if the new council looked into this”.
The meeting discussed the fact that Longford Community Resources Ltd (LCRL) - the authority responsible for discharging millions of euros in LEADER funding - will also be dissolved in the coming months.
Diminishing powers for local area representatives on the new committees was also discussed at length. The new system will ensure a greater representation by community members as opposed to public representatives and Cllr Séan Farrell (FG) pointed out the difficulties that may arise as a direct result of this.
“While I welcome change and development, I most certainly think that there should be more public representatives on those new boards,” he added.
“Public representatives are the voice of the people in their communities and are elected by the public to act on their behalf.”
Cllr Gerry Brady (FG) then said, “yes, I agree with Cllr Farrell on this”.
“Public representatives are the voice of the people and therefore we should most certainly be heard on the council,” he added.
In conclusion, Mr Sheridan firstly pointed out that CDB and LEADER boards were not the same entities and he reiterated the importance of ratifying the new committee to replace CDB by June 1.
He also conceded to not knowing - at this point - what the plan was once ratification was in place.
The CDB brought together local government, local development, state agencies active at local level and the social partners to agree and implement a Strategy for Economic, Social and Cultural Development in the county.