26 February 2009 Edition

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Reforming local government and planning

Daithí Doolan

Daithí Doolan








Sinn Féin Ard Fheis 2009


IN the ‘Local Government, Planning and Environment’ section, Dublin South East councillor Daithí Doolan told delegates that Sinn Féin is committed to achieving the maximum possible reform of local government and planning processes “in order to build communities that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable”.
Sinn Féin’s National Councillors’ Forum proposed a motion condemning the 26 County Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government for cutting the Local Government Fund to local authorities, and a motion calling on local authorities to expand the rates base to include empty second properties, which have been bought for speculation purposes.
The Ard Fheis congratulated those Sinn Féin Councillors involved in the process of Reform of Public Administration in the Six Counties, and welcomed the opportunity the RPA provides “to develop and implement planning policies that will promote social inclusion and that are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable through increased density, inclusion of infrastructure and the frontloading of social and leisure services in developments”.
Cumann Clancy/ O’Callaghan in Limerick won support from delegates for a motion supporting the effort to regenerate marginalised communities in the city. The Ard Fheis noted that the major social problems being experienced in parts of Limerick are by no means limited to the city and that they “largely stem from the total failure of the public housing policies pursued by successive 26 County governments over many decades”. “These have been compounded by a failure of policing to provide safe and secure communities,” the motion added.

The Ard Fheis voted to oppose any attempts by the 26 County Government to renege on its commitments to fund and support the Limerick regeneration project.
The Ard Fheis also commended the party for having begun an open consultation on PPS21 with the greater rural community so that those who live in the countryside can be given the opportunity to express their views on rural planning policies.
In the Environment section, delegates voted to call for Irish climate protection laws and to campaign strongly on environmental issues, particularly climate change, in the upcoming European and local elections.
The Ard Fheis noted the failure of the EU carbon emissions trading scheme to effectively slash emissions in Ireland and elsewhere, due to the fact that it has been easily manipulated and abused by governments and corporations. It noted that “carbon trading and market mechanisms are, at best, a secondary plank of a climate strategy and that the promotion of renewable energy, combined with legally binding reduction targets, at the government and international level is the best way to achieve emissions reduction”.
Delegates resolved to step up the campaign for Irish climate legislation which sets legally binding and enforceable annual as well as long-term carbon emissions reduction targets. 

An Phoblacht
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Dublin 1