Deputy Noel Coonan has given a guarded welcome to the amalgamation of Tipperary County Councils North and South, into one unified County Tipperary Council. The local Fine Gael TD said the merger will most definitely “lead to greater efficiencies and savings within the Council, with money being directed at essential works instead of duplicating administration costs.”
However, Deputy Coonan said it is paramount that the new Council be based in North Tipperary, especially since Clonmel already has an existing Borough Council.
“It is essential that the new Tipperary authority operates from the County Council building already located on the Limerick Road in Nenagh which was recently custom built and is in perfect condition to be fully utilised by this proposed new amalgamated Council. The finer details are in train and I will be strongly pushing for the Nenagh premises to be the new headquarters. Alongside this, Minister Phil Hogan has yet to outline how this merger will affect the number of Councillors that will be elected to the unified Council,” said Deputy Coonan speaking to Thurles Information, this morning.
A single County Council is expected to be established to govern the whole of Tipperary, with effect from the 2014 local elections. This new authority will serve a significantly increased population of over 159,000 people. This latter population increase compares with the present situation where North Tipperary County Council serves 70,219 and South Tipperary County Council serves 88,433.
North and South Tipperary were among the authorities for which the 2010 Local Government Efficiency Review Group report recommended joint management arrangements. [Click HERE for the report of the Local Government Efficiency Review Group.] It recommends that a full merger would achieve greater savings, both through the generation of scale economies and other efficiencies including the removal of duplication, with the integration of necessary administrations and public services delivery.
The Local Government Efficiency Review Groups report states that the national financial impact of their recommendations if implemented would amount to country wide savings of €511 million. While most of the recommendations concern efficiency savings, a number of recommendations also extend to cost recovery and revenue raising, with an emphasis on a more equitable distribution of the overall revenue burden. Of this €511 million total expected savings, €346 million would be made up of efficiency savings, and €165 million would be accounted for, through improved cost recovery and revenue raising. These savings would take a year or more to fully achieve.