CATHAOIRLEACH of Westport Town Council, Cllr Ollie Gannon, has launched a scathing criticism on Environment Minister, Phil Hogan. Speaking at Westport Town Council’s annual budget meeting last Thursday, Cllr Gannon called the decision to abolish all town councils in Ireland, announced by Minister Hogan last last year, as a ‘disaster for Westport’
“As Cathaoirleach and as a Fine Gael Councillor, I condemn Minister Hogan for this and, as a town, we will all feel the effects of this down the road,” he said.
Fellow Fine Gael party member, Cllr Christy Hyland, added that he too was disappointed by ‘my own minister’.
“I’ll pull no punches here, we are debating a budget of €5.2 million and I’ll be dammed if any of our capital money goes into some new municipal district to be administered from Castlebar. The county council is millions in debt and this town council is not, and I’ll be dammed if money that came from the people of this town, and the good management that has been demonstrated here, is taken from us”. Councillor Margaret Adams added that the many community groups and sporting organisations that are given money by Westport Town Council on a regular basis will suffer because they will be less likely to receive money from a central fund.
Councillor Myles Staunton said he feared a real lack of access to representatives would be felt by the public, and also called for a guarantee to be given that all rates money raised in Westport would be ‘ring-fenced’ for Westport, while Cllr Keith Martin added that the local government fund contribution to Westport Town Council amounted to no more than 12 per cent of their budget, and asked was it really worth abolishing the council over?
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