LIMERICK City and County Council could soon be going on tour to a community centre near you.
Sure, it might not make up for the disappointment of Garth Brooks cancelling his Croke Park concerts, but some councillors believe it might shed some light on the democratic process in action.
At a special meeting of Limerick City and County Council’s Metropolitan District this Monday, Sinn Fein councillor Maurice Quinlivan moved to hold council meetings in community centres across the city at least once a year in areas such as Southill, Caherdavin, Castleconnell and Moyross. The motion was seconded by Sinn Fein comhairleoir for City East, Séighin Ó Ceallaigh.
According to Cllr Quinlivan, the newly constituted local authority should demonstrate the importance of the community voice and of an open and transparent decision-making process.
Fianna Fail councillor for City West, James Collins, was quick to point out that areas such as Dooradoyle and Mungret are currently without community centres. Fellow FF colleague Shane Clifford also announced that areas such as Castleconnell and Annacotty were also without centres but still considered the idea a “very good one”. However, Cllr Clifford felt the motion would be more “relevant” for area committee meetings.
Independent councillor for City North, John Gilligan, insisted that meetings should be held in City Hall at 7.30pm on Monday evenings, as they were in the past, at a time that would suit the public, rather than “bouncing it about the place”.
Anti-Austerity Alliance councillor for City East, Paul Keller, told council members that he believed that holding meetings in the community would “stir up interest”.
Fine Gael councillor for City West, Maria Byrne suggested that the Council also look at expanding relationships with businesses by holding meetings at the Limerick hubs of the some of the city’s major employers. She pointed out that this had been done in the past when a council meeting was held at Vistakon’s plant in Castletroy.
The proposal will now go before Limerick City and County Council at their September meeting.