Belmullet man Ian McAndrew has been appointed as the Mayo representative on the new reformed board of Údaras na Gaeltachta following his ratification by Mayo County Council.
His nomination was approved at last week’s meeting of Mayo County Council where the nomination of the Council’s representative on the new board of Údaras na Gaeltachta was discussed. Mr McAndrew, who is an outgoing member of Údaras na Gaeltachta and was a Fine Gael candidate at the last council election, was appointed unopposed after he was proposed and seconded by members of the Fine Gael party.
The new board of Údaras has been reduced from 20 members to 12 following the introduction of the new Gaeltacht bill, which also scrapped the public election of Údaras board members. The new board will be made up of seven members appointed by the Minister for the Gaeltacht while the remaining five members will be appointed through the County Councils with Gaeltacht areas.
Mr McAndrew was the only name put forward for consideration at last week’s meeting of Mayo County Council and will be representing Gaeltacht areas in Mayo on the new board.
Fianna Fáil councillor Micheál McNamara said he was sure Mr McAndrew will do a ‘fine job’ on the new board but lamented the scrapping of the elections. He said he felt the Gaeltacht Bill had gone through the Oireachtas without enough debate and believes that it has eroded democracy in Gaeltacht areas.
“We cannot understand why the Gaeltacht people have no input into who elects their representatives. We have no problem with the reduction in numbers on the board and obviously funding needed to be saved but they could have held these elections at the same time as local elections.
“If Fianna Fáil had introduced this we would have been accused of giving jobs to the boys but this new government who were supposed to be all about change unfortunately cannot see that. I have nothing against Ian [McAndrew] who I’m sure will do a fine job, but I feel this process has taken the voice off the people,” he said.
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