[Sinn Fein]

12 January 2001

Minister Dempsey must not collapse Dublin City Council Democracy under threat

The threatened replacement of Dublin City Council with a Government-appointed Commission if the Council fails to impose refuse charges at its meeting this (Friday) evening has been described as an attack on democracy by Sinn Fein TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin.

He called on Environment and Local Government Minister Noel Dempsey not to suspend the Council.  Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

``Minister Dempsey seems determined to force refuse charges through Dublin City Council despite the fact that the majority of councillors and citizens are opposed to them. The Government has made a mess of the entire waste management issue and in this context it is outrageous that Minister Dempsey should threaten to prorogue an elected local authority because of failure to comply with the Government's fatally flawed waste management strategy.

``This Government has completely failed to provide an effective and equitable waste management service. The industrial and commercial sector is being allowed to ignore its waste management obligations with no effective requirements from Government  for them to reduce, reuse and recycle waste. It is this sector which is the principal polluter, not the ordinary householder.

``Sinn  Fein is strongly opposed in principle to power being vested in a Government minister to suspend a democratically-elected council with the stroke of a pen.  Such action is probably now unconstitutional given the 1999 amendment to the Constitution recognising local government.

``I commend my Sinn Fein colleagues on Dublin City Council for their stand on this issue  and again urge Minister Dempsey not to attack local democracy in our capital city.'' ENDS

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