Updated: 05/03/18 : 05:47:40
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Sligo town to get back Mayor and roads funds

By Eugene McGloin
Political Editor

SLIGO TOWN will have its Mayor restored in legislation to come before summer.

The five historic borough councils will also have their main powers restored.

Sligo, Kilkenny, Wexford, Drogheda and Clonmel will be called ‘’borough districts.”

They will be joined by three new areas to have the same status —Dundalk, Navan and Bray.

Local Roads

The eight will be given control over funding for local roads and development plans will be handed back to the borough councillors.

This would effectively restore the areas ‘block grant,’ a move which would be welcomed both by councillors and townies.

John Paul Phelan, junior minister for local government, confirmed the details to Political Correspondent Stephen O’Brien in The Sunday Times yesterday.

Said the minister.: “This will be a hybrid of what was there before, without the extra layer of bureaucracy.”

It seems likely that local electoral areas will be redrawn ahead of the elections due in May 2019.

Another key decision yet to be made by Minister Phelan is whether to restore planning functions to the new borough districts, or leave with county councils.

Hollow Pledge

Local government structures were dismantled by then Minister Phil Hogan prior to the local elections of May 2014.

The move caused widespread unease, including within his own party.

In Sligo Fine Gael was decimated, with 75% of its outgoing councillors defeated at at a time the party was in power.

Hogan’s pledge to offer Sligo an “enhanced” office of Mayor proved hollow.

The proposed changes arise from a review of local government presented to the Cabinet last week.

It seems unlikely that Sligo’s historic borough — over 400 years in existence — will be restored in this summer’s ministerial package.

Picture: The last official mayor of Sligo, Cllr Marcella McGarry (Labour)