On the road with More Power To You
by Niall Shanahan

A series of public meetings to promote Fórsa’s More Power To You campaign got underway in Cork this week. The initiative aims to reclaim the role of local authorities and local democracy.

The campaign, which brings together trade unions representing over 30,000 local council workers, is also calling for legislative changes to facilitate directly-elected mayors and restore and expand town councils, which were abolished in 2014.

Fórsa Campaigns Director Joe O’Connor said the campaign was seeking commitments from political parties and candidates in the May local elections.

“We’re looking for commitments on a range of badly-needed local government reforms covering waste, water, housing, and energy services, to retain and properly resource these services and give greater autonomy to local government,” he said.

The campaign’s reform objectives include:
• Legislative changes to facilitate directly-elected mayors
• The return and expansion of the town council system, which was abolished in 2014
• Increased revenue and funding powers, with parallel systems of accountability and transparency, to move the percentage of local authority-managed public spending towards the European average
• An immediate end to the outsourcing of council housing maintenance and a medium-term shift to a new local authority-led public housing model
• Stronger regulation of the waste sector to ensure that every household has access to an affordable waste disposal service, as a precursor to the reintroduction of improved public provision
• A constitutional referendum on the right to water, which should ensure that water and waste water services remain in public ownership and control
• Investment in local authority environmental and sustainable energy infrastructure and staff, to facilitate the maximum use of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) ‘Better Energy’ programme.

The meetings continue tomorrow (Thursday 2nd May) in Sligo, and in the coming weeks as follows:
• Tuesday 7th May – Kilkenny
• Monday 13th May – Galway
• Wednesday 15th May – Dublin
• Thursday 16th May – Mullingar

Support and follow the campaign on Twitter at #MorePowerToYou

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