Westport town councillors are to attend the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe which will take place on October 30.
Speaking at the town council meeting last Thursday, Councillor Myles Staunton said that Westport Town Council has put together a submission entitled Westport Town Council: Response to Local Government Reforms, which will be sent for consideration of the member of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe in advance of the session on October 30. One topic for discussion during this session is local democracy in Ireland.
Cllr Staunton said the town council believes that the abolition of the town council is in breach of European Charter and that adequate consultation did not take place. The council in its submission set out alternatives rather than the abolition of town councils; a reduction in the number of members on Westport Town Council and the opportunity for each town council to submit a five year plan, with councils then being retained based on merit. Cllr Staunton said: “I genuinely believe that the alternatives are reasonable.”
Cathaoirleach of the town council, Cllr Michael McLaughlin, said that it was important to make representation in Europe and he proposed that members of the town council who are available should attend to showcase Westport Town Council as a case study. This was proposed and seconded.
Cllr Ollie Gannon said that his colleagues in Mayo County Council should be ashamed of themselves as they have not shown solidarity in saving the town councils. He said that Westport, Ballina, and Castlebar town councils always brought out the best for Mayo and he added that he hopes “those same colleagues of mine lose their seats in the local elections in May.”
Cllr Christy Hyland asked “what kind of an outfit” was Mayo County Council, due to its extensive debt, which was not the case for town councils, and he wondered whether Mayo County Council needed a course in book keeping.