Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Local Authorities.

Proinsias De Rossa


3 Proinsias De Rossa asked the Taoiseach if, in regard to the commitment given in the Review of the Programme for Government, he will outline the number of quarterly reports which have been submitted by the Taoiseach to the Government detailing the progress made on the devolution of powers by Government Departments to local authorities; if he will outline the main provisions of the reports; if it is intended to publish the reports; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

The first quarterly report is being prepared and I hope to submit it very shortly to a ministerial committee which the Government have established to consider certain matters relating to local government reform, including devolution of functions to local authorities. The report will outline the position on devolution in the light of reviews carried out by individual Government Departments. The question of the publication of the report will be considered in due course.

I seek clarification from the Taoiseach. Is he saying that so far none of the Departments have reported to the Government on any proposal for devolution of powers? If any Departments have so reported, could the Taoiseach say which Departments have done so?

That is a separate question and I do not have a list of all Departments in front of me. I shall refer back to the Deputy on that aspect.

Would the Taoiseach not agree that one of the simplest devolutions the Government could take would be to allow local authorities to make a series of decisions appropriate to local authorities without having to seek permission from the Minister for the Environment for issues as simple as a single house development? Would the Taoiseach not agree that such simple matters should immediately be devolved to local authorities?

I consider that there is room for improvement in many areas, as suggested by the Deputy.

Including the raising of small loans? Local authorities cannot do even that.