The seven elected representatives in the new Claremorris Municipal District have more powers than ever before to decide on critical local issues, such as the annual budget for the area, parking regulations and the development of a new community fund for local projects and works.
At a meeting of the municipal district on Wednesday, director of services Paddy Mahon told the elected members they have 45 new reserved functions under the new municipal district make-up.
The seven county councillors - John Cribben, Gerry Murray, Patsy O’Brien, Tom Connolly, Richard Finn, Damien Ryan, and John Caulfied - will be able to make more decisions locally, which previously would have required ratification at a county level.
While Castlebar, Ballina, and Westport have experience of this form of autonomous, local decision making, having had town councils until the abolition of those authorities in May, these are new powers in the Claremorris area.
Cllr Richard Finn welcomed the development, decribing it as a “forward step” for local government.
“It is now up to us as seven elected representativs to ensure we get our share of the county cake,” he said. “It’s important that we fight our corner and are seen to be in control of our own destiny. We now have the authority to deal with the issues on behalf of the people who elected us.”
Cllr Damien Ryan said the new municipal authority means power is being devolved to an area which was somewhat underrepresented in the past because it had no town council.
“This will shape and make this area over the next five years,” he said.