Following a proposal made by Cllr Gillian Coughlan, Mayor of Bandon, at a meeting convened by the Mayor and Town Council of Midleton on Monday night, the Mayors of all the Town Councils in County Cork are to seek a meeting with the Minister and the Oireachtas Committee on the Environment.

Cllr Coughlan commented: “The Minister’s ham -fisted attempts at reforming the local government structures have created outrage among town councillors. People recognise that this is, yet again, power being taken from local areas and local people and centralised in unelected county managers’ offices. Minister Phil Hogan seems to have no respect for the principle of subsidiarity, where government is effected at the level closest to the citizen.

“Ireland’s towns are unique. Neighbouring towns will not necessarily share the same origins, functions, resources or requirements. This uniqueness can best be served, enhanced and developed by a forum of locally elected people.

“Reform is required. Towns should be the central hub of an administrative district serving its own natural hinterland.  We need new local government structures that will genuinely empower local people in areas like Ballincollig and Carrigaline to make decisions that will affect their communities not the sham reform that the Minister is pursuing. This is about the core principles of democratic legitimacy.

“Ireland’s towns are not a homogenous, ‘one size fits all’ unit, local government structures have to reflect that. Tourism, manufacturing, fishing, farming and education are among the functions that our towns provide. The needs that stem from these functions are unique to the area. Local politicians are best placed to identify and engage with these needs and we will be putting forward these views when we meet the Minister.”