[Sinn Fein]

10 November 2000

MacManus welcomes safeguarding of Borough Corporations

The Mayor of Sligo, Sinn Fein Alderman Seán MacManus, speaking after a meeting between the Mayors of Clonmel, Drogheda, Kilkenny, Sligo and Wexford with the Minister of the Environment, Noel Dempsey, at Leinster House in Dublin, said:

``It was a good working meeting and the Minister has responded positively to many of the concerns that we raised with him this afternoon. Minister Dempsey has indicated that he will introduce an amendment to his legislation which would have the effect of safeguarding the status of these five borough corporations.

``Today's meeting  is a major boost to the people of Sligo, Clonmel, Drogheda, Kilkenny and Wexford and to the campaign to have the Minister of the Environment to reverse his proposals to downgrade the five borough corporations to town councils.

``For three months now, the Mayors of Clonmel, Drogheda, Kilkenny, Sligo and Wexford have worked closely together in putting forward the case for the retention of corporation status.  We outlined the likely negative impact if the Minister were to go ahead with his plans and instead argued for him to work with us to safeguard the future of these cities.It was clear today that the Minister now has a real understanding of the issues involved and has taken on board many of the concerns which we raised.

``However, I want to strike one note of caution in relation to today's meeting and that is in relation to the proposals in the Bill to transfer the sanitary services currently exercised by the boroughs to their respective county councils.  This transfer of powers would be a retrograde step and should not go ahead.

``I would like to pay tribute to Mayors Paul Cuddihy (Kilkenny), Brian O'Donnell (Clonmel), Paddy Nolan (Wexford) and Frank Godfrey (Drogheda) for all their hard work.  The success which we have achieved today is  a direct result of our close co-operation and I hope that can continue in the future.''

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