7 March 2001
Environment Minister challenged over today's report he is to strip councillors of waste management powers
Move would contradict Minister's local govt anniversary speech
Sinn Fein has challenged Environment Minister Noel Dempsey to confirm or deny today's [Irish Times] report that he is planning to strip councillors of their powers to decide on waste management plans affecting their areas. The report suggest that Minister Dempsey wants to hand the powers to city and county managers instead.
Louth Co Cllr Arthur Morgan, who is engaged in a High Court action to stop the building of incinerators as part of the North-East Area Waste Management Plan, said:
``Noel Dempsey is not only the Minister for the Environment but also Local Government so he needs to spell out very clearly and very quickly if he is actually planning to strip councillors of their powers and undermine local democracy by giving waste management powers to unelected, unaccountable officials.
``If this report is true it contradicts the Minister's own statement made the year before last to mark the 100th anniversary of local government. Under the title `Giving local growth back to local government', Minister Dempsey said: `Fianna Fáil believes that local government should be made more people-centred... We are determined to put in place reforms which will see local people having a far more central role in the operation of local authorities... The new system will put local government back at the centre of local democracy and put councillors in a pivotal role in the new system.' - Reported in The Irish Times, 14 May 1999
Cllr Morgan asked: ``Is Minister Dempsey now going back on his words and planning to reverse local growth, local government and local democracy?''
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