Murphy to introduce ‘Boundaries Bill’

Fitzmaurice says FF reneged

Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon-Galway Eugene Murphy will introduce the Local Government (Amendment) Bill 2017 on the floor of the Dáil today (Thursday).

  However the party has been criticised by Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice who says Fianna Fáil reneged on a commitment to ensure that there would be a cross-party approach on signing the Bill.

  Deputy Murphy says the aim of the legislation is to ensure local communities have the final say in any proposals for a county boundary change that affects them.

  The Bill places a requirement on the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government to hold a plebiscite on any proposal for a redrawing of a county boundary. The change to the local authority boundary can only take place where it is approved by a majority in the affected area.

  Deputy Murphy explained: “Many communities across the country have been affected by arbitrary changes to county boundaries. At a stroke of a pen, bureaucrats are changing the identity of a community without their agreement.    

  “Whether it’s Monksland in Roscommon or townlands in south Kilkenny, the deeply-held sense of attachment and belonging to a county is threatened by a decision in Customs House. This Bill is all about local democracy. It will ensure that local people have the ultimate say on whether or not their county status is changed.

  “This Bill will empower local communities to make the choice themselves by weighing up local identity and economic needs.”

  Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice urged all Oireachtas members in County Roscommon to support the Fianna Fáil Bill. However he has claimed that Fianna Fáil reneged on an agreement that all politicians locally would “co-sign” the Bill. 

  “I would ask our Minister in the county, TDs and Senators, regardless of party allegiance, to work together on this because this is a matter that rises above any politics. Sadly that doesn’t seem to register with Fianna Fáil because when we met with the ‘Save Roscommon’ group, who have done a huge amount of work on this issue, it was agreed at a meeting in the Abbey Hotel that all politicians would co-sign a Bill together” he said.

  “I am not blaming our local FF TD Eugene Murphy but it is sad to see that Fianna Fáil seemingly are not into any new-style politics where all sides would have co-signed this Bill. This does not take from the positive side of this Bill being brought forward and we need to gather as much support for it as is possible.”