Call to action on town councils

IMPACT’s local government division has called on the union’s local authority branches to engage in discussions about staff issues arising from the abolition of town councils. At a special meeting of branches last week, the union’s national secretary Peter Nolan said branches that had not already started talks should immediately seek discussions with council management.

He said the union’s priority was to seek to avoid the compulsory relocation of staff who work for abolished or merged councils. “The best way to do this is to bring services closer to local communities by identifying what work or services can be transferred out to locations where town council staff now work.

“We need to protect members and seek to ensure that whatever new arrangements are put in place do not force them into unacceptably long commutes or relocate them from their centre of operations and out of the communities they serve,” he said.

Eighty town councils are to be scrapped under the Local Government Bill, which was published last October. The new legislation will also see the number of councillors reduced by more than 40% – from 1,627 to 950 – with councillors representing municipal districts at county council level. Six city and county councils, in Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford, are also being merged into three new councils.