The Committee, which is Chaired by former Fingal County Manager David O’Connor also includes Ciaran Lynch of Limerick IT’s Thurles Campus (former Chief Planner with Clare County Council) and Ollie Killeen, the former Head of Finance at Limerick County Council).
According to Minister Kelly: “The main rationale for boundary alteration is to bring the administrative jurisdictions into line with the current settlement and development position and the reviews I have announced are clearly warranted given the significant overspill of population in each of these cases into another county.
“Bringing all of a town or Metropolitan District within a single local authority area eliminates anomalies and distortions of divided administration, service provision, regulatory/enforcement responsibility and electoral representation, including problems such as competitive policies and practices between authorities in relation to planning, rating and charges, which can impact negatively on town centres.
“Consolidation of administrative responsibility can also strengthen the economic performance of the town or Metropolitan District, both by eliminating the anomalies I have referred to and ensuring that there is a single authority working on its behalf.”
The independence of the Committee has been stressed by the Government since news broke of its inception over a fortnight ago “and shall stand dissolved on submission of its final report to the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government”. Elected representatives are precluded from participation in such commissions.
The Minister said he was “delighted that people of such strong calibre and experience of local government were willing to come forward on a ‘pro-bono’ basis and assist in settling administrative boundaries for these areas”.
The Committee will “make such recommendations with respect to the boundary, and any consequential recommendations with respect to the area of the Municipal, Borough or Metropolitan District that they consider to be necessary in the interests of effective and convenient local government; and prepare and furnish to the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, a report in writing of that review and its recommendations.”
Should the Committee recommend an alteration to the boundary, six areas will be outlined in its final report, as detailed by the Department of the Environment:
* “The financial and other relevant implications, including the potential outcomes to be achieved, and likely benefits and costs.
* “Any significant issues that are considered likely to arise in the implementation of revised arrangements and how these should be addressed.
* “Measures that should be taken consequential to or in the context of the recommended arrangements, including any measures in relation to financial arrangements.
* “Any matters in relation to which provision should be made in a primary order or a supplementary order (providing for matters arising from, in consequence of, or related to, the boundary extension) within the meaning of section 34 of the Local Government Act 1991, including any financial adjustments required.
* “Any interim measures which should be taken, if necessary, in advance of, or in preparation for, the full implementation of the recommendations, and
* “The appropriate timescale for implementation of recommendations, including any interim measures.”
The Committee has also been requested “to ensure effective local government for Waterford and its hinterland,”, to take account of “settlement and employment patterns” and “the need to have regard to the identity and cohesion of local communities”.
The Waterford Boundary Committee team is due to complete its work by Monday, November 30th, with other boundary reviews also due with respect to Carlow (November 30th) Athlone and Drogheda (February 29th next).