Updated: 13/04/17 : 04:08:03
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Sligo council shape set to change before next election

SLIGO LOCAL politics will never be the same again, some local politicians have been told.

The eight seat and ten seat municipal districts into which Sligo was divided for the 2014 local elections may now be abolished.

Fine Gael banckbenchers have been told of the move by Simon Coveney, Minister for Local Government.

Decisions on the shape of councils will be made after a review of the current set-up by a boundaries committee yet to meet.

Crucially, its terms of reference will be set by Minister Coveney.

His Department has now promised the review will be ''in good time'' before the 2019 local elections.

The current Programme for Government is already committed to ''consider reducing'' the size of some municipal districts.

Broken Pledge

In Sligo, voters from Ballisodare to the borders of Ballina voted for the same set of candidates for the first ever time in May 2014.

A sprawling ten seater centred on Sligo town currently includes electors in Mullaghmore and Cliffoney.

The former Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan, also failed to deliver on a pledge to enhance the Mayor of Sligo's role.

Already Afoot

Fine Gael members in Sligo expressed unease when Hogan's plans to reform local government were first announced.

But the Labour Party were the main proponents seeking larger-sized municipal districts. 

Smaller areas would mean seat losses was the argument, recalls Sligo man Stephen O'Brien, now Political Editor of The Sunday Times.

O'Brien revealed last weekend that changes in councils' make-up are already afoot.

The move, he suggested, ''is likely to benefit larger parties such as Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.''

No Seat

In Sligo, Fine Gael can hard do any worse in the future than it did in the May 2014 elections.

The FG party took only three of the eighteen seats on offer then.....and it could have been even worse.

The 2014 election saw Labour lose out 100% -- leaving it without a seat in local politics in Sligo for the first time in a century.

 Meanwhile, there is no indication yet whether there will be changes in the next general election in this area's four-seat Dail constituency.

Provincial and county boundaries were crossed to create, for the first time ever, a Sligo and Leitrim constituency which also included west Cavan and south Donegal.

That territory very closely mirrors the catchments of Sligo University Hospital, North West Hospice and the HSE's bailiwicks for primary care in the community.