Poll: Should the government bring back town councils?

Retail lobbyists believe they hold the key to reviving regional shops.

By Conor McMahon Deputy editor, Fora

ONE OF THE main retail lobby groups has called for the re-introduction of town councils.

In 2014, 80 town councils were abolished as part of a local government reform.

In an opinion piece published by Fora, Retail Excellence CEO Lorraine Higgins has suggested that their reintroduction would help rejuvenate towns and villages where small shops have struggled to survive.

“Town councils provided committed leadership and their loss has stunted growth, direction and left many places rudderless,” Higgins wrote.

However, some commentators have argued that there’s a good reason why they were ditched in the first place.

Writing in the Irish Examiner earlier this year, Justin Sinnott of State training agency Solas criticised the additional costs that would come with reintroducing and servicing town councils.

Sinnott suggested that the government is better off concentrating on improving local government in its existing format, instead of rolling out “another layer of politicians”.

With that in mind, we’re asking Fora readers this week: Should the government bring back town councils?