Aug 042010
 

Irish politicians have for years managed to convince the public that they have some sort of power to get things done by their local council.

It’s a lie.

Members of the Dáil have no authority whatsoever in relation to work carried out by local councils. None. They have no role in the councils, no budget, no authority and no status.  If a politician tells you he got your road fixed, he’s lying.  All he did was look it up in the council’s list of planned work and wait until the work was done before claiming credit for it.

In most towns, people believe the Mayor is the boss of the council.

This is false.  Mayors are just elected councillors like all the rest, with a few minor procedural responsibilities but no executive power whatever.  They have no budget, no authority and no staff.  Nobody reports to them.   As often as not, they can barely read and write, never mind direct some complex building work.

A Mayor is just a person who chairs council meetings, signs the minutes and freezes their arse off on the St Patrick’s Day viewing stand, nothing more, apart from the dubious authority to extend the tenure of a city or county manager, which can lead to a certain conflict of interest.

Small though the power of a mayor might be, the elected councillors have no power at all, and this is for a very good reason: most of them are idiots.  Here in Limerick, you could get your cat elected if you bribed enough drunks to vote for him, and your cat would probably do a better job than some of the illiterate bozos we have slobbering on the benches of the council chamber.

The Irish political establishment doesn’t like independence.  It doesn’t like devolution of power from the centre, unlike the European municipality model, and it’s no accident that our local councils are populated by half-wits.  That’s the way the government likes it.

Local authorities were emasculated years ago by the imposition of city and county managers who exercise almost all the power.  They answer to nobody except the minister for the environment.   They are, in fact, the visible face of central government at local level.

While a TD might have some personal relationships at a senior level in a local authority, they have no formal role whatsoever, and for the most part are not permitted to go beyond the front counter. If you wanted a favour done, you’d be far better advised to make friends with the janitor who’s probably on good terms with staff at all levels.

Next time a councillor or a TD tells you they can get something done by the council, call them a liar and slam the door in their face.

  12 Responses to “Politicians and the Myth of Power in Local Councils”

Comments (12)
  1.  

    They (Councillors) appear to have been able to zone a hell of a lot of land Bock.

  2.  

    Did any of those councillors ever appear on Britain’s Got Talent do you reckon?

  3.  

    You have a very good understanding of the facts and I know a guy who knows the janitor; even has his phone number.

  4.  

    That photo of Willy freaks me out. He looks really evil for some reason, with the big smile…like a character in Resevoir Dogs or something. I mean he’s a big pussy really.. but it’s still creepy.
    Poor Willy will probably go postal on us all one of the days. He’ll show up in the city centre shooting randomly, shouting ‘I can get things done with the council, I can, god damn it.’

  5.  

    The councillors of Limerick City are a disgrace. Collective silence on the future of Shannon Airport and issues such as Vizes Field they suddenly find a collective voice to try and discredit Denis Brosnan and his recommended united local authorities. The Mayor sees fit, with the city manager to visit the Dáil to stop this going ahead where was her interest when Ryanair pulled more services from Shannon or when DAA upped the landing charges in the midst of a recession. These people are selserving vermin whose only concern is for their salaries, expences, junkets and kudos. Read this for some contenders of quotes of the century.
    http://www.limerickleader.ie/news/City-councillors-vow-to-fight.6576714.jp

  6.  

    “Here in Limerick, you could get your cat elected if you bribed enough drunks to vote for him, and your cat would probably do a better job than some of the illiterate bozos we have slobbering on the benches of the council chamber.”

    Bock, sure why not run for office yourself & do something about something? Anything stopping you?

  7.  

    I wouldn’t be able for the lies, double-dealing and back-stabbing of City Hall life.

  8.  

    Colourful description of municap life in Ireland. I’m not sure it differs hugely from some other counties. I remember the councillors in the Spanish town where I lived vying for places on junkets to South America and arguing about the length of the grass around the local swimming pool and they could do this by putting a Left/ Right dimension into the argument. Planning seemed to have the same chaotic set of outcomes as here. A fine rant but easy on the Irish exceptionalism!

  9.  

    I don’t know where I said this was unique to Ireland.

    Did I say that? If so, obviously the statement is retracted.

  10.  

    “The Irish political establishment doesn’t like independence. It doesn’t like devolution of power from the centre, unlike the European municipality model, and it’s no accident that our local councils are populated by half-wits. That’s the way the government likes it.”

    There might be some implication in the above that all’s well in the models of municipal govt in Europe but perhaps not Bock.

  11.  

    I don’t see where that’s implied. Do you mean that’s what you read into it?

  12.  

    Maybe if the past of all these so called politicians was looked into indepth we would have some insight as to their behaviour today. I have never met a saint from the political fraternity. As Halloween is upon us, surely we should look at the skeletons in the political closet. I do refer of course to our local clever clogs councillors.

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