Fianna Fáil Environment Spokesperson Niall Collins has introduced a Bill requiring local authorities to respond promptly to all correspondence from the public. The Bill, being debated in the Dáil today (Friday, 12 January), is a step towards improving the efficiency and transparency of local authorities around the country.
Deputy Collins explained, “At the moment we have a completely unacceptable situation where members of the public are expected to wait endlessly for their queries to be addressed by their local authority. It can be extremely frustrating for people to feel they are being ignored for protracted periods of time after writing to their local authority about a pressing issue.
“While I understand that local authority staff are under pressure, there is a real need to improve the efficiency and transparency of local authorities’ engagement with the public. Under the Fianna Fáil Bill, local authorities will be legally required to provide written acknowledgement of a written request within 5 days of receiving it. A substantive reply will be required within 15 – 20 days.
“This Bill is a simple piece of legislation that would make local Government far more effective. Particularly at a time when every home is expected to pay a €100 household charge to their local authority, they need to know that they are getting value for their money. The very least that households can expect after paying this charge is a prompt response from their local authority when they have a query.
“I am urging all sides of the House to support this positive and constructive Bill in the public interest,” said Deputy Collins.