“Despite all its failings, a lack of reform and inadequate funding, Cashel Town Council has punched well above its weight, lived within its budget, served the community well, and its only when its abolished that the citizens will realise what they have lost ”, according to Mayor Maribel Wood (pictured).
At its June meeting she called on Minister Hogan, his department and the government to seriously recognise the historical role of local government in Cashel and in doing so retain the Town Council with reforms suited to the 21st century.
She believes that if Minister Hogan is intent on abolishing the Council then a local referendum should be held on the matter. “We are supposed to live in a democracy and with over eight hundred years of various forms of local government in this town, the Minister cannot just wipe it out at the stroke of a pen”, she says.
According to Councillor Wood, the expanding town has awaited a boundary extension for more than a decade but central government failed to deliver. This seriously distorts the numbers on the register of electors with the result that the urban population is far greater than they get credit for.
“The Minister wants to make savings but services will still have to be provided so what will he save by abolishing the Town Council”, she asks. While, according to Councillor Wood, no town councillor gets rich on the remuneration received, she interestingly points to the fact that Councillors in former years served the community without getting an allowance and she is sure that there are many civic minded citizens who would be prepared to serve in that same manner on a reformed Town Council.
“Records show that local people here have always shown an interest in their Town Council. The turn out at elections has been very good and the number of candidates very high. Remove local government and what have you in its place, faceless people at the end of a phoneline if you are lucky to get through.
The status of Cashel will be diminished. We will have no control over local issues and deep down I don’t think that a proud Cashel people would want that”, she concludes.