Fresh concerns have been raised over Kilkenny’s status as a city, following the publication of the new Local Government Bill 2013.
While several counties in which councils are being amalgamated have retained the ‘City’ moniker, Kilkenny appears to have not. In the new bill, the new local government body in Limerick is called ‘Limerick City and County’ and Waterford is to become ‘Waterford City and County’.Kilkenny’s local authority appears to be simply ‘Kilkenny County Council’.
Fine Gael councillor David Fitzgerald raised the issue at last week’s meeting of the present county council. He asked that cathaoirleach Pat Dunphy put forward an amendment, so that it would be known as ‘Kilkenny City and County Council’.
His proposal was seconded by Cllr John Coonan (FF), who again decried the loss of the borough council following next May’s local elections. Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has recently given assurances thatKilkenny’s city status would be protected.
Cllr Fitzgerald’s concern was not the only one over some nomenclature in the new bill at last week’s county council meeting.
Cllr Sean Treacy (FF) felt that the names of Kilkenny’s new electoral areas such reflect other large urban areas, and not just the city.
“I think there should be a reference there,” he said, suggesting ‘Kilkenny City East and Thomastown’.
Cllr Andrew McGuinness said the names could simply be ‘Kilkenny East’ and ‘Kilkenny West’. Cllr Pat Crowley disagreed. He said he felt it was important to refer to the city.
The local government changes will come into effect next year, abolishing 80 town councils. The Association of Municipal Authorities in Ireland, which represents town councils, has written to Minister Hogan expressing serious concerns about the legislation.