Councillors divided on future of Letterkenny-Milford Municipal District

The municipal district was split into two electoral areas for the local elections in 2019

Councillors divided on future of Letterkenny-Milford Municipal District

Councillors are divided on whether the municipal district should be returned to one ten-seat electoral area for the next local elections or split completely into two municipal districts

Councillors in the Letterkenny-Milford Municipal District are calling for changes to be made to the electoral boundaries in the area.
A call has been made at the June meeting of the municipal district for the two electoral areas that make up the municipal district to be amalgamated again for the next local elections.
The municipal district was split into two electoral areas for the local elections in 2019 with seven councillors elected in the Letterkenny electoral area and three in the Milford electoral area. The councillors serve together under the Letterkenny-Milford Municipal District.
Councillors are divided on whether the municipal district should be returned to one ten-seat electoral area for the next local elections or split completely into two municipal districts.
A motion calling for the council to ask the Boundaries Commission to amalgamate the two electoral areas was tabled at Tuesday’s meeting of the municipal district by Independent councillor Michael McBride.
He said “no one in the area can understand” why it had been divided in two and “people don’t understand why they cannot vote for people who are representing them”.
Cllr McBride, who was elected in the Letterkenny electoral area, said there is an imbalance in the municipal district. Calling for the council to make a submission asking for the ten-seat electoral area to be restored, he said: “I don't think there is anything negative about having a ten-seater.”
The motion was seconded by Cllr Jimmy Kavanagh (FG) who said Letterkenny councillors are “acutely aware of the imbalance”. He said it was a strange decision to split the municipal district in two.
But Milford area councillor Liam Blaney (FF) said he was not in favour of the motion, adding that the issue needs more discussion.
He said the Milford area had suffered when it was part of the Letterkenny electoral area for ten years.
Cllr Blaney said the Milford area should become a separate municipal district, which would make sense as there is a public services centre in Milford.
Independent councillor John O’Donnell, who topped the poll in the Milford electoral area, said there is a case to be made for the Milford area to be increased in size and become a separate municipal district.
Cllr Ciaran Brogan (FF) said the motion is a timely one but it is important that a division between the urban and rural areas is not created.
In a written reply Donegal Council Council said it had made a decision to make a submission to the Boundary Commission for the 2019 elections.
“The submission was agreed at a workshop with the elected members and a workshop of this nature can be facilitated in the future”, the council said, adding that any individual can make a submission to the Boundary Commission when submissions are invited.

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