Local coalition close to a deal on finer details of new pact

The offices of Longford County Council. Photo: Michelle Ghee. www.gphotos.ie
The various chairperson roles on Longford Co Council’s recently elected local authority are close to being finalised.

The various chairperson roles on Longford Co Council’s recently elected local authority are close to being finalised.

Fianna Fail, who control the balance of power following last month’s local elections thanks to the co-operation of three independent councillors , hope to confirm the individual roles over the coming days.

Newly elected county councillor, Seamus Butler said talks over the weekend had gone as well as could have been expected.

“The appointments are pretty much settled at this stage,” he said, revealing only a few minor roles had still to be ironed out.

Cllr Butler, who helped mastermind a post-election deal between his own party and three Independents, admitted bargaining would have to take place in certain instances.

“There will be some sharing on some committees which require three or four members and there has been a bit of to-ing and fro-ing,” he said.

Going into the May 23 elections, Longford Co Council had a total of four strategic policy committees.

They included housing, roads, water and environment as well as a separate one for economic development and urban renewal.

Alongside those, Longford’s newly elected 18 member local authority will also provide input into the HSE’s Dublin Mid Leinster Health Forum and the Longford Westmeath Education and Training Board.

On the ETB last time were : Cllrs PJ Reilly (FF) and Colm Murray (FG) with Cllr Gerry Brady (FG).

Questions are now being asked about how the all-round membership of the Longford/Westmeath Education and Training Board will look.

In total, that body comprised of no fewer than five elected representatives who either retired or failed to hold onto their seat last month.

Cllr Butler sad that great clarity would be provided at a meeting this Friday.

“I’ve no doubt there will be a settling in period, both for the executive and elected members and it will be interesting to see how much power is devolved from the county council to the various municipal areas,” he said.

Following the recent elections, Fianna Fail hold the balance of power along with three independent councillors - Mark Casey, Mae Sexton and Gerry Warnock.

When asked to respond to claims the new look Fianna Fail/Independent coalition would not last the council’s full five year term, Cllr Butler said: “Nothing is further from the truth. We are rock solid.”