Speculation Council could be reduced to 18

There is growing speculation that the number of County Councillors serving Leitrim could be reduced by as many as four members, from 22 to 18, following the publication of recommendations on Local Government Reform shortly.

There is growing speculation that the number of County Councillors serving Leitrim could be reduced by as many as four members, from 22 to 18, following the publication of recommendations on Local Government Reform shortly.

The Recommendations are expected to be released by Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan as part of massive reform of regional, county, city and town governance.

Local sources have said that the changes recommended for Co Leitrim include the abolishment of the separate Dromahair and Manorhamilton Areas and the establishment of a single North Leitrim electoral area running from Tullaghan in the north of the county down to just north of Drumshanbo. It is expected this new area would contain six seats.

The future shape of electoral areas in the south of the county remains very much up in the air with at least two options being touted.

One would see the Carrick Area extended to include Drumshanbo, Leitrim Village, Keshcarrigan and Kiltubrid, creating a six seater constituency.

Carrick, however would relinquish parts of Annaduff, Mohill, Bornacoola and Gortletteragh.

Alternatively, some sources are suggesting that Drumshanbo, Keshcarrigan and Kiltubrid may instead be incorporated into an extended Ballinamore Area which will be altered to include Mohill, Gortletteragh, Bornacoola and Annaduff with the creation of a final six seater electoral area.

There are some fears locally that the recommendations would be opposed by members of Fine Gael as it would effectively pit some of the party’s leading representatives against each other and could, ultimately, cost the party dearly in terms of seats in the Council Chamber.

Minister Hogan is expected to set up a Commission to consider the proposed changes. This will allow people to make submissions on the final form of representation.

It is expected that all changes will be put in place before the 2014 local elections.