The South-East Regional Authority is to strenuously oppose the recommendation contained in the McCarthy Report to abolish the State’s regional government structure by getting rid of Regional Authorities.

Councillor Thomas Kinsella, Cathaoirleach of the Regional Authority, said his body had submitted a hard-hitting response to the Departments of Finance and Environment, Heritage & Local Government.

“It is clearly recognised in government policies, discussion documents and particularly in existing and proposed legislation that a development co-ordination role is required at regional level. The established Regional Authorities are the only bodies with any electoral mandate to perform this role, as they have been doing since their inception”, said Cllr Kinsella.

“Since the Planning and Development Act was enacted in 2000, this role has been placed on a firm statutory footing and it is clear from the 2009 Planning and Development Bill, currently being considered by the Oireachtas, that the government believes that significantly enhanced powers and duties are necessary for Regional Authorities.

“The abolition of the Regional Authorities would make no sense in this context, particularly when account is taken of the minimal amount that they cost, the non-exchequer funding that they generate through their EU work and the even more enhanced role that they can play in the future as integrated and co-ordinated activity at regional level becomes more and more necessary to ensure a sustainable and competitive investment environment in the country’s regions”, concluded Cllr Kinsella.