Cllr Michael O'Meara
The balance of representation between councillors and non-elected people on the LEADER evaluation committees has been questioned by Cllr Michael O'Meara.
"The role of councillors has been lessened. It is a further erosion of our role," he said following a presentation at Nenagh Municipal District Council by Tipperary County Council's Community and Enterprise director Attracta Lyons.
The Lowry Team representative pointed out that the number of councillors on the actual LEADER board had fallen from 18 to 12 and pointed out that the evaluation committee had no representative from his area in Lower Ormond.
"It is vitally important that we have at least one councillor from each municipal area on those committees," he said.
Cllr O'Meara described the lack of representation as appearing to be part of a "national narrative to sideline local representatives".
"We are democratically elected. We walk the roads every five years. This is unacceptable and I want to know the reason why we are being precluded from these evaluation committees," he said. Cllr O'Meara called on councillors to seek legal advice as to why they were being excluded.
"LEADER is a key brand name in rural Ireland. Indeed it was often the only show in town. I am extremely angry," said Cllr O'Meara. Ms Lyons said they would take Cllr O'Meara's remarks on board.
Earlier, she said that the selection for the LEADER independent evaluation committees had taken place. Two committees of 12 members, with four to be nominated through the Education Training Boards/ Local Enterprise Office and local development companies and eight to be selected by public call.