Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Local Authority Members.

Monica Barnes

Ceist:

15 Mrs. Barnes asked the Minister for the Environment if he proposes to designate any additional functions to be reserved for the elected members of local authorities; and if so, if he will give details of his proposals.

Ivan Yates

Ceist:

65 Mr. Yates asked the Minister for the Environment if he proposes to designate any additional functions to be reserved for the elected members of local authorities; and if so, if he will give details of his proposals.

Theresa Ahearn

Ceist:

72 Mrs. T. Ahearn asked the Minister for the Environment if he proposes to designate any additional functions to be reserved for the elected members of local authorities; and if so, if he will give details of his proposals.

John Connor

Ceist:

73 Mr. Connor asked the Minister for the Environment if he proposes to designate any additional functions to be reserved for the elected members of local authorities; and if so, if he will give details of his proposals.

Paul Bradford

Ceist:

75 Mr. Bradford asked the Minister for the Environment if he proposes to designate any additional functions to be reserved for the elected members of local authorities, and if so, if he will give details of his proposals.

Seán Barrett

Ceist:

77 Mr. S. Barrett asked the Minister for the Environment if he proposes to designate any additional functions to be reserved for the election of members of local authorities; and if so, if he will give details of his proposals.

John Bruton

Ceist:

197 Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment if he proposes to designate any additional functions to be reserved for the election of members of local authorities; and if so, if he will give details of his proposals.

I propose to take Questions Nos, 15, 65, 72, 73, 75, 77 and 197 together.

I have established a working group comprised of representatives nominated by the General Council of County Councils, the Association of Municipal Authorities of Ireland, and the County and City Managers Association together with officials of my own Department to examine this matter. The designation of additional reserved functions will be looked at in the light of the recommendations of the group.

Would the Minister not accept that his Department have set up a record number of review groups, interdepartmental committees and task forces but far from delegating more power to local authority members they are moving in the opposite direction? Power is being taken away from local councillors. Will he decide this month to return to local authorities what is properly theirs in many minor areas?

I have given active consideration to this matter in so far as it relates to matters which could be delegated without recourse to new legal provisions. The Deputy can be assured I will preside over the most fundamental shake-up this century of this matter.

I heard Deputy Flynn say that.

I hope the Minister will get a move on and get these committees to reply to him.

I am in office only a couple of months.

Can the Minister say whether this will include a root and branch review of the managerial Act which he has not mentioned in reply to any of the questions?

I replied to a number of questions and, indeed, to some which did not appear on the clár. No area is sacrosanct from examination.

Would the Minister agree that a start could be made by allowing local authorities fix their own speed limits? Would he agree it is absurd that Kerry County Council cannot fix their own speed limits in county towns and they have to be fixed by the Minister for the Environment?

Deputy Garland will appreciate the matter of speed limits is not just a matter for local authorities and the Department of the Environment, it is also a matter for the Garda Commissioner. Where matters can be dealt with more efficiently, expeditiously and more in tune with local needs I will have no hesitation in transferring ultimate and total responsibility to local authorities.