[Sinn Fein]

7th June 1999

Voters lose out at failure to reform Local government

Sinn Fein Dublin EU Candidate, Seán Crowe, speaking at the launch of the party's Local Government Manifesto said that ``we do not have local democracy in this county, instead we have an outmoded system of local administration with an elected tier with little or now real power.''

Mr. Crowe said:

``Local government in this state is based on the framework laid down 100 years ago. It was inadequate then and it has deteriorated over time. The City and County Managers Acts give virtually dictatorial powers to unelected officials in every county and borough. Successive governments removed more powers from local councils while establishing numerous statutory agencies which took over or duplicated many of the functions of local government. It was not the councillors who lost out but the people who elected them.

``Sinn Fein is calling for a root and branch reform of this system. Local authorities must be given the powers to retain locally and spend locally a proportion of income tax. Local government must be financed and empowered in the context of fundamental tax reform, including a specific tax on the financial sector. Our proposals on local government are radicial and courageous. They grasp the political nettle from which other parties flinch. They are vital if we are to establish real local democracy.

Sinn Fein is proposing

Sinn Fein has a vision for local government in Ireland. We want to see the people of Ireland in control of local government. We want to see them running their local health services, organising regional enterprise, builiding their own houses and planning their own local economies. In short we want to put people first, give them power over their local communities. We want to give them control of the resources to develop and grow those communities. We want to do this throughout Ireland.

We can stamp out discrimination and corruption. We can role back the influences of central government. We can deliver local democracy.

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