Letter to Local Papers 12 May 2019

By Albert Byrne | May 15, 2019

A Chara,

I am running as an independent in Mid-Louth on a platform of reform and transparency and would like the opportunity to address your readers.

I am passionate about reform of local government and reform of Justice and Policing. These are fundamental to a just and fair society. In addition I am committed to the success of the Ardee bypass in a way that is socially inclusive along with the revival of tourism in Ardee centred around the castle and the incentivisation of business in our town centers. I also believe Louth County Council should declare a climate emergency. If elected I will stand for one term only. That is a promise I intend to keep.

According to a recent survey by Transparency International Louth County Council scored 12 out of 30 on a national integrity index covering transparency, accountability and ethics (source: www.transparency.ie/local-authority/report/louth-county-council). In the area of planning permission out of a total of 3 questions it scored zero.

Meanwhile Earnst & Young rated Ireland the most globalised economy in the world while the world trade forum ranked Ireland second to Belgium. This means Ireland depends heavily on foreign capital and unless its institutions are fit for purpose will suffer financial shock if there is an international crises. Democratic institutions clearly play an important role in the financial security of the nation as the bailout of the banks testified. We must do all that we can to ensure we do not have a repeat of the last financial fiasco where financial institutions collapsed and government acted to bail them out without a proper mandate from the people.

We must therefore make our institutions fit for purpose at all levels to ensure full transparency and proper accountability. We must also safeguard our human rights.

If elected, as part of this process, I will seek to implement the recommendations of Transparency International which will include, as my first order of business, bringing forward a motion that will require Louth County Council to publish on its website:

a. A searchable database of past and current planning applications, with complete documentation for each application.
b. Written submissions and observations submitted by the public on county development plans along with all written motions made by County Councillors.

In regard to local businesses, despite a return to boom times in our capital we still see empty shops and underdeveloped areas in rural towns. Town centers are the heart and soul of our community and should be fostered along with any future out of town development. Peripheral development which overlooks corresponding town center development is detrimental to the social fabric of our community. Shops which are empty contribute nothing to the budget. Financial incentives should therefore be put in place such as relief on rates and reduced taxes to encourage small traders to develop their businesses in underdeveloped areas. We need to look to tourism and services to fill the gap left behind by more traditional enterprises. If Dublin city center can be regenerated through tax concessions then why not underdeveloped rural towns if a need clearly exists?

We have to take a holistic approach to the overall development of the community to ensure social cohesion. We need to build new relationships with tour operators as well as organise walking tours that exploit our much undervalued heritage. In that respect Ardee castle can become a visitor center around which a revival of tourism in the area can take place.

I am someone who believes: act locally and change globally. So, for those who are appalled by the state of the world at home and abroad please use your democratic mandate on the 24th May and vote for change and help create a better society, one which can show leadership in a world badly in need of change.

Is mise le meas,

Albert Byrne

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