Fianna Fáil Councillor in Kildare Rob Power says Minister Simon Coveney’s decision to intervene in the Sallins Local Area Plan Process is unwarranted and an affront to local democracy.

Cllr Power was responding to the issue of Direction by Minister Coveney ordering Kildare County Council to proceed with the Sallins Plan omitting lands previously zoned for community, educational and housing need.

“For twenty years the residents of Sallins have seen their town grow in population without the associated growth in community facilities. Here was a perfect opportunity for Kildare County Council to right that wrong and we have been prevented from doing so by the Minister and his department.”

“There was also an opportunity to increase the housing stock in an area which sits in an urban rail corridor and has serious pent-up demand.”

“On July 8th Minister Coveney was quoted in an interview with the Evening Echo saying:

“We need to see a dramatic increase in housing stock in as short a time as we can make it.”

Exactly one month later, on August 8th he has faltered at the very first opportunity to do just that.”

“This decision flies in the face of the 2,148 local residents of Sallins who voiced their opinion in support of the Naas Area Councillors’ decision to zone these lands. To issue a direction contrary to such overwhelming local support is an affront to local democracy and a further erosion of power from local authorities.”

“As a new Councillor, I have been frustrated by the lack of authority that local representatives have. One function which Councillors do have, is that of making and amending a local area plan. When the Minister takes this away you have to wonder what regard for local democracy, if any, this Government has.”