Bray could lose one councillor in proposed electoral area changes
THE Bray district could be left with less voting power in Wicklow if they lose one of their number in a review of electoral areas.
The document was circulated to members, with a clause saying that a district could have no more than seven members.
Another clause said that towns with a population of €30,000 or more could be a ‘Borough Council’.
District Manager Des O’Brien said that it doesn’t appear that such a council would have any extra administrative powers. ‘Maybe you can wear ermine in your robes or something.’
Bray has a population of fewer than 29,500, according to the 2016 census. Submissions on the proposals can be made up until February 19.
‘ This is window dressing and not to do with what should be discussed,’ said Cllr Joe Behan. ‘Powers lost by Bray Town Council as a result of 2014 reforms.’
He said that the council had lost autonomy in planning, rates and housing and had lost a huge number of staff. ‘Essentially becoming one of many sub-committees of Wicklow County Council.’
He said that Bray is a major town in the county with a huge amount of revenue being generated. ‘From what I gather if we maintain this particular at the moment we won’t be still entitled to eight members.’ He suggested establishing two four-seater electoral sub-areas.
Cllr Behan said that Fine Gael had wanted to reduce the number of large-seat electoral areas because too many independents were being elected on the seventh and eighth seats.
‘Seven is completely unsuit- able for us in Bray. We will lose comparative power in Wicklow,’
Cathaoirleach Cllr Christopher Fox said that he had a conversation with CEO Frank Curran and director Tom Murphy. ‘ They see no alternative but to put Enniskerry and Kilmacanogue into Greystones and leave the town of Bray as an electoral area with seven,’ said Cllr Fox.
‘ The difficulty is that Enniskerry and Kilmacanogue look to Bray for schools, banking, shopping - even the post office now is in Ballywaltrim. There doesn’t seem to be connectivity between Enniskerry and Greystones.’
‘ This town and area were screwed in 2014 and now we’re being further screwed.’ said Cllr Pat Vance.
‘I think it’s fair to say nobody in Wicklow wants eight members coming from Bray. They always wanted to take power away from Bray. When they couldn’t because Bray was a Town Council the council screwed it financially.’
Cllr Christopher Fox
Cllr Pat Vance