A Granard Town councillor has sensationally described tomorrow’s (Thursday) visit by Environment Minister Phil Hogan to open the north Longford town’s newly refurbished Market House community library as “a slap in the face to the people of Granard.”
Cllr Eddie Kelly said he won’t be attending tomorrow’s ceremony on a point of principle following the Environment minister’s decision to abolish town councils.
Those plans, which will see 80 town councils up and down the country being scrapped after this month’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.
“No, I won’t be going,” explained Cllr Kelly. “He (Mr Hogan) did away with democracy in this country at the stroke of a pen.”
It’s not the first time he has directed his anger at the Environment Minister’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 tomorrow’s grand opening. .
“It’s a slap in the face to the people of Granard, that’s the way I see it,” he said of Minister Hogan’s visit.
He went on to claim that the visit was a ‘publicity stunt’.
“And I tell you this, it’s nothing more than a publicity stunt for Fine Gael.
“They 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.”
Asked if he thought any of his fellow councillors might join him in protest, Cllr Kelly was unrepentant.
“I don’t know if anyone will (join in protest),” he replied.
“You 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.”
Minister Hogan will be in Granard to open the multi-million euro revamp of Granard’s Market House which is also home to the town’s library.