• Election 2020

‘Power to the people!” – Bird wants creation of neighbourhood councils

Topanga Bird
General Election Topanga Bird.

Independent candidate for Louth Topanga Bird says she wants government ‘decentralised’ and ‘devolutionised’ and she has called on the creation of neighbourhood councils which would allow people more autonomy over decisions made in their local area.

The Dundalk woman is one of 15 candidates running for election on February 8 in the five seat constituency and one of four non-party affiliated candidates. Bird describes her political leaning as ‘not left wing, nor right wing, but new wing’, christening her non-party platfrom as gaeilge ‘Nua Eite’.

In a statement released today after submitting her nomination papers in Dundalk, Bird said that she believed there were local solutions to widespread problems.

“I stand on a platform calling for government decentralization and devolution. I stand for immediate restoration of town councils, creation of block/neighbourhood councils and for giving them new powers to truly represent their members. I stand for making county councils truly accountable to the voices of their local ones and for extending that accountability to the entire Oireachtas.’

Town Councils were abolished nationally in 2014 and replaced by Municipal Districts. In Louth, these are Dundalk, Ardee and the Borough District of Drogheda.

‘I stand for creation of locally based economic initiatives, ones developing linkages between Co. Louth-based producers, vendors and service providers and Co. Louth-based consumers,’ she continued, adding that the reinvigorating of town centres and supporting village commercial strips were chief among her policies.

“I am convinced that, working collectively, we can find local solutions to widespread problems,’ Bird said.

The candidate from Hughes Park believes the reopening of the Accident and Emergency department at Louth County Hospital in Dundalk would “solve a piece” of the health care crises in the county. That is a view shared by some other candidates, with Peter Fitzpatrick for one previously airing calls for the A&E to reopen. The department closed permanently in 2008.

“We can solve the Co. Louth piece of the housing crisis by re-envisioning and revising community development plans to require construction of more affordable, and sustainable, housing, Bird stated, adding that by utilising the educational capacity of Dundalk IT, more jobs can be created locally.

“We can create more local jobs by taking advantage of the educational capacities of the Dundalk Institute of Technology and other institutions to train, and retrain, workers with skills to lure state-of-the art industries to Co. Louth.

“I offer an independent voice, not one shackled to party politics. I stand for listening to the people of Co. Louth and meeting their needs. I stand for ‘power to the people.'”

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