The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Alan Kelly TD, in his statement at the launch of the Boundary Reviews, expressed an ambition to bring:“all of a town or metropolitan district within a single local authority area (to) eliminate(s) anomalies and distortions of divided administration, service provision, regulatory / enforcement responsibility and electoral representation, including problems such as competitive policies and practices between authorities in relation to planning, rating and charges, which can impact negatively on town centres. Consolidation of administrative responsibility can also strengthen the economic performance of the town or metropolitan district, both by eliminating the anomalies I have referred to and ensuring that there is a single authority working on its behalf”.
This ambition is captured in the Terms of Reference set for the Boundary Review Committee that require the Committee to “make such recommendations with respect to that boundary, and any consequential recommendations with respect to the area of Athlone, that it considers to be necessary in the interests of effective and convenient local government”. The Terms of Reference are then set out as a series of detailed headings under which the Committee is to assemble the information upon it will carry out its review. The Committee is designated to be independent in the performance of its functions, its role being to assemble a final report comprising recommendations in fulfilment of its mandate and to present this to the Minister for his consideration.
The Committee values its independence in this regard and approaches the task assigned completely without prejudice as to outcome. The task is to assemble the widest possible amount and range of information related to its assigned task so as to be best informed in its recommendations. This must include in particular the views of the citizens, businesses and organisations across the spectrum of society upon whom any change in the administrative arrangements for the provision of local authority services may have an impact.
We have provided a framework of questions to guide people and organisations to the core issues that we are required to address in our work to help them to make their views known for our purposes. In that regard we are conscious of how consideration of change offers a chance to provide a wider view of how the area will cope with its future social and economic development in its wider regional and national context and submissions are encouraged to take this opportunity to have particular regard to this in their submissions.
Jack KeyesChairman of the Boundary Review Committee