There’s mounting speculation Roscommon may gain a further two Municipal Authority areas under the forthcoming local authority boundary review, which is expected to be published next April, in advance of the local authority elections in two years’ time.
Minister of State with special responsibility for Local Government, John Paul Phelan was expected to establish a new boundary commission yesterday (Monday) with submissions will be invited from interested parties by January.
While it’s unclear if Roscommon County Council will gain an additional allocation Councillors, Phelan Minister has strongly hinted the existing three, six seat electoral areas, will be broken into smaller geographical areas of four or five seats with the provision for three seat areas ‘in exceptional circumstances.’
Fianna Fail Councillor Paschal Fitzmaurice says “Minister Phelan has indicated the current size of electoral areas is ‘unacceptable’ though he didn’t indicate if the number of Councillors will increase. The criteria laid down the last time by the Government, didn’t make sense.”
Cllr Fitzmaurice’s Municipal Authority colleague Cllr Michael Creaton says the areas as they stand “are impossible to manage and understands the Municipal Authority areas “would be made smaller” for the next election.
However Sinn Fein Cllr Michael Mulligan fears Municipal areas might actually be made bigger: “from what I’m hearing, the areas are going to get bigger; there will be two areas for the next election, one North and one South.”
“It would be impossible to manage two nine seat areas. The amount of work Councillors are already doing is unmanageable. I would be in favour of going back to the old Council areas as they were prior to the last local election. I would also favour the return of Town Councils such as in Boyle.”