Wicklow Sinn Fein County Councillor John Brady has labelled the new Municipal Districts as toothless and void of the necessary staff to carry out their functions. He has called for a full review of the functions of the Municipal Districts and staffing levels in Wicklow.
Speaking after a Bray Municipal District meeting where a motion was passed calling on the Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council to address the chronic staff shortages, Councillor Brady said “It’s over a year now since the Town Councils were abolished and Municipal Districts created in their place. It’s clear now that the Municipal Districts are completely toothless and they lack the staff to even carry out the most basic of functions. The Municipal Districts have turned into talking shops with little or no powers and no funds.”
“People are paying large amounts of Property Tax and indeed next year they be paying 15% more after Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and some Independents voted to increase it. Unfortunately the council is financially worse off and has substantially fewer staff. This has resulted in the Council offices being unable to open to the public on a number of occasions. Bray has no revenue collector, it’s lost its full time litter warden and one traffic warden is trying to do the work of three people.”
Cllr Brady went onto say “Bray Municipal District has retained some housing functions; however we don’t have the staff to do the work. We have a very good Estate Development Officer who is supposed to be working within the local authority estates. Due to a lack of staff he is now collecting rent and manning the public counter in the council offices. At the meeting, I proposed a motion calling on the Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council to allocate additional staff to the Municipal District so it can function properly. I’ve also called for a review at County level, so more powers can be delegated out to the Districts so that decisions can be taken at local level.”
“The introduction of the Family Home Tax was a con job; The Municipal District of Bray has a discretionary allocation of €69,500. The promised additional services promised by the government when introducing the tax can and never will happen. A national review of the new system is underway, this must include the way councils are funded. The Family Home Tax must be abolished and adequate central funding must be provided. More powers need to be delegated to the Municipal Districts to try make them relevant and additional staff appointed to them. ” Ends