BY Eoin Kelleher
Nenagh is set to benefit from the ‘re-unification’ of Tipperary under a new plan to amalgamate the two Councils, according to a South Tipperary County Councillor.
At this month’s meeting, Cllr Siobhán Ambrose said South Tipperary would lose out to the North if new proposals contained in a draft document for the amalgamation were implemented. But her comments were opposed by other Councillors, who welcomed the plan as the first step on the road to the unification of the two Tipperarys.
Under the plan, the Directors of Services of Finance, Roads, and Planning will sit in Nenagh, while Clonmel will receive Water, Housing and the Environment Sections. Some staff will remain at both locations and the quality of service to customers will remain unchanged. Some job losses will occur between now and 2014.
County Manager Billy McEvoy told Councillors they had to have a draft plan ready for Local Government Minister Phil Hogan by the end of this month. The aim is to create efficiencies, reduce duplication of services between departments, while minimising re-location of staff. It’s envisioned that the new restructured administration be up and running to support the new Council by the time of the local elections in 2014. Management and staff have been working on the document since May 1st.
Customer Service Desks will be established in Nenagh and Clonmel to cater for enquiries from the general public. “We are obliged to consult with the elected members,” said Mr McEvoy. “We have a lot of detail to work through by the end of May.” The restructuring will involve “huge changes” in the way the Council organises itself.
Cllr Siobhán Ambrose (FF) said she would “not be happy” with the proposals outlined in the draft document. “How much input has there been from the staff? It’s a very sad day for Finance, Roads and Planning. South Tipperary gets Water, the ‘poor sister’,” said Cllr Ambrose. Even that power will be “eradicated” when a new national company takes over the control of water services. “Housing is the only thing that South Tipperary will benefit from. Roads, IT.. all the big things go to North Tipp. This is not a good day for South Tipperary. I would not be leaving the negotiating room with this document.” The Environment section would also be powerless now that refuse services have been privatised, added the Clonmel based Councillor.
“It’s a happy day for Nenagh.” Cllr Ambrose complained that even Tipperary’s amalgamated VEC would be headquartered in Nenagh. “Clonmel is the bigger town, and South Tipp has a broader population, and yet it’s gone to North Tipp.”
Full story in this week’s Tipperary Star.