In this newspaper last week, Councillor Joe Conway from Tramore called on Environment Minister Phil Hogan to rethink his likely intention to merge Waterford City and County Councils

In a nutshell, Councillor Conway predicts that the proposed savings will be outweighed by redundancies and costs, many of which are hidden at present, and, in the end, the huge exercise will be more trouble than it is worth.

He said he had served as a local government representative in the Council of Europe in Strasbourg for four years from 2006 and reform was never far from the lips of representatives from all 47 member countries.

However, they all agreed on two things. Such reform was notoriously challenging and that organisations needing reform might well be incapable of reforming themselves. There was also the danger of perverting the basic twin rationale of local government, the promotion of greater citizen engagement in the conduct of their own affairs and the development of local leadership skills for the future of the country and its people.

Councillor Conway may, or may not, be correct in his appraisal of the situation but, either way, the proposed merger of the two Tipperary councils is already causing friction and battle-lines are being drawn in the sand.

The Chairman of South Tipperary County Council, Councillor Michael Fitzgerald, is insisting that the new headquarters must be based in Clonmel while, up north, Minister of State, Alan Kelly, is equally adamant that Nenagh must be the new seat of unified power. A Department spokesperson said no decision had been taken on the location other than that a new headquarters in a central location was not on the cards. Waterford city or Dungarvan anyone?