‘Decentralisation’ plan success depends on talking to locals, says Waterford councillor

   2021-03-29 09:03

A KILMACTHOMAS- based councillor says consultation needs to happen with councils and local residents if a new ‘decentralisation’ plan for rural towns and villages is to work effectively.

Cllr Ger Barron, of the Labour Party, says he is ‘hopeful’ that the new plan – being announced in full later today – will benefit towns and villages across the country and like others, he awaits the detail “with interest”.



“Anything that will help rural Ireland and small towns is welcome,” he told Maria McCann on Deise Today

“But local authorities need to be involved big time. There is a need to talk to people on the ground because every town is not the same and every town has different needs.”

Later this afternoon, Minister for Rural Development Heather Humphreys is to announce a ‘worker led’ decentralisation that will provide for work practises brought about by the pandemic, to continue in the years ahead.

It’s reported that state-funded relocation grants and tax incentives for remote working are to be introduced, as well as a major fund to convert old and disused buildings to remote working ‘hubs’ and a new shared ownership scheme that will allow rural communities to take over local amenities such as pubs, shops or post offices at risk of closure.

Labour city and county councillor Ger Barron said he hopes the new ‘decentralisation’ plan is a vast improvement on its predecessor and hopefully we have “learned from that”.

He also said that there is a good deal of small industry in small towns, like Kilmacthomas, and he wouldn’t like the new focus on remote working to take from that.

There had been a lot of “false dawns” over the years in terms of plans announced for rural Ireland and he said people in small towns had good ideas but needed financial supports as well as mentoring ones.

He added that the one good thing to come from this pandemic is that people were looking at work in a different way and it no longer mattered, largely, where employees are physically based.

You can listen back to Cllr Ger Barron speaking to Maria McCann this morning, by clicking below here…

Meanwhile, you can listen back to the full Deise Today from this morning by clicking below here…


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