That the Dáil is of opinion that the development of orderly local administration in the City and County of Dublin requires that the Government should not lose further time in announcing its decisions as to the recommendations of the Local Government (Dublin) Tribunal, whose report was presented and published more than two years ago.
I do not propose to take up much of the time of the House in the consideration of this motion, because to my mind the terms of the motion are axiomatic. But, here is a report which was presented as long ago as November, 1938, and it deals with matters vitally affecting some 500,000 people. Yet, it has been allowed to lie there without any decision of the Government on its various proposals. The position is actually even worse than that, because not only has it been allowed to lie there without a decision, but, in the meantime, four Bills, three of which are now Acts, have been introduced affecting the system of local government in the area covered by the report of the tribunal. Yet no hint has been given by the Government of their decision on this report. It may be argued that these Bills themselves constitute the decision of the Government on this report. But surely nobody would suggest that the ridiculous position which will shortly arise of the city manager sitting in one building as such, and shortly sitting in another building as County Manager, with two different sets of officials possibly tendering him differing advice, and two councils to deal with, is one which can be regarded as a proper answer to the recommendation of the tribunal that a single metropolitan council should be established for the area in place of the four existing authorities? A decision on this matter would surely lead to the orderly local administration envisaged in the motion.
From a town planning point of view, a decision on the various matters in the report would also be of very great help. It may be well to know what the consultants, in making their report on this matter say:—
"In making our proposals we have, since the publication of the Greater Dublin Tribunal's Report, constantly borne that report in mind....
"Briefly, our green belt and the area of County Dublin to the north of that correspond to the North and South Dublin rural areas of the tribunal, while our central urban area (with free entry and deferred development land) corresponds with the tribunal's metropolitan area as distinct from the rural areas...
"We are satisfied that the present boundary is utterly inadequate, and consider, therefore, that the future boundary and, in fact, the whole question of administration, is one which should be considered in the light of the findings of the tribunal and of our report jointly."
One of the tribunal's recommendations is that there should be appointed a metropolitan planning director who would be responsible for the planning of the entire area, in place of a system of each authority dealing with its own area, sometimes in agreement with adjoining ones and sometimes in conflict with them. The Minister may say that under the Town and Regional Planning Acts, the Dublin Corporation has power to constitute itself a planning authority for the whole area. While that is perfectly correct, the corporation has considered the matter on occasion, but so far it has been reluctant to impose itself on other authorities pending some decision by the Government on this report.
This motion is not either in favour of, or against, the findings of the tribunal, but is merely an expression of opinion that the Government should, by now, have been able to make up their minds on the various recommendations in that report, as to whether they are to be implemented or not, and that the orderly administration of local government calls for a decision on that report, one way or the other. The tribunal, in paragraph 481 of their report, say:
"We consider it essential to the new departure in municipal outlook that the reorganised administration should be initiated by the adoption of definite plans to which the heads of services should work and the progress of which should be closely supervised by the metropolitan manager."
Possibly some of the present authorities would prepare the plans envisaged in that recommendation if they were given an inkling of what the Government's decision on this report is going to be.