Long-serving Letterkenny Town councillor Ciaran Brogan has described today as a “dark day” for the town.
The Fianna Fail will attend his last town meeting as the Government chooses to abolish town councils at the end of this month.
Cllr Brogan warned “If we weren’t aware of the huge challenge that faces us in the immediate and long term future, we will be once the curtain comes down and the town’s Local Authority is no more.
“Since I was elected to the Town Council in 1999, I have seen the huge amount of work that has been done by everybody involved in the Council right from the officials to those on the ground.
“Now, the biggest challenge for us is to maintain the same level of funding and services that this Town Council did over the last number of years.”
Cllr Brogan said the council has enjoyed close working relationships with the business people of the town, the Chamber, the Tidy Towns committee and the 90 or so Residents Associations that exist throughout the town.
He also cited the engagements with the local sporting and voluntary organisations, all of whom have depended on the generosity of the Council and councillors for funding.
In an effort to keep relationships between many groups going, Cllr Brogan suggested the setting up of a town forum.
“Now, as we prepare to lose our Council, I will be proposing tonight the setting up of a forum in the town involving all these organisations along with the Chamber, the Tidy Towns Committee and the Gardai. I believe that the people can put their faith in me to help deliver such a forum and help redress the imbalance that is going to obviously exist when our Town Council ceases to operate at the end of this month.
“Those relationships that we, as a Council body, have built up with all those organisations were vitally important both for them and for us and it is imperative that they be maintained.
“We only have to look at the budget figures for 2014 to see what the Council has meant to the various bodies and facilities. A provision of 109,000 euro has been included in respect of Community Grants while the Sports Investment Fund is being maintained at 40,000 euro. Every year the town is lit up at Christmas and that’s thanks to a 25,000 euro provision from the Town Council.
Under the arts umbrella, the town council has allocated €110,000 on the An Grianan Theatre, €150,000 on the Donegal County Museum, and €50,000 towards the running of the Arts Centre.
Cllr Brogan added “A large number of Letterkenny organisations and facilities are now going to be scratching heads and wondering if the new District Council can even, or will even, come close to matching any of those funding allocations on an annual basis.
“That is why I consider a town forum to be of key significance in making sure we don’t throw all that good work away just because the Government and a group of civil servants saw fit to eradicate all the town councils in the State.
“The Town Council in Letterkenny always had an open door policy and in some capacity that must be maintained. A forum is the way to go about it.
“Letterkenny is on the national stage because of all the work that has been done and we now boast some of the finest facilities comparable to, and in most cases, surpassing every other town of its size.
“It should not be forgotten that Letterkenny is the county’s gateway town and a thriving Letterkenny means, whatever others might counter argue, a thriving Donegal.”Tags: