[Sinn Fein]

21st February 2003

Local Government Bill `another wasted opportunity' - Ó Caoláin

Responding to the publication of the Local Government Bill Sinn Fein Dáil group leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has welcomed the decision to abolition the dual mandate but has described the abandonment of direct elections of Mayors and Chairs of Councils ``as a wasted opportunity and another Government u-turn on promises already made''.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said: ``While Sinn Fein welcomes the aspects of this Bill that provide for the abolition of the dual mandate we can't help but feel that it represents a wasted opportunity to have real local government reform. The failure to allow for the direct election of Mayors and Chairs of Councils is a clear illustration of another Government U-turn on promises already made.

``It is ironic that the Government should be publishing a Bill on local government reform with a view to strengthening its powers while at the same time local authorities the length and breadth of the state are being stripped of their powers over waste management in order to impose incinerators, increase refuse charges and privatise refuse and other local services.'' ENDS

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