IMPACT trade union has sought the support of the Kilkenny Council of Trade Unions as part of the union’s campaign to prevent the amalgamation of fire services in Carlow/Kilkenny, and highlight the threat of a similar proposal for library services in the two counties.
In a letter to the Kilkenny Council of Trade Unions last week, IMPACT national secretary Peter Nolan said the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government had published proposals to amalgamate the fire services in Carlow/Kilkenny. “A similar proposal exists for the library service. These proposals have been promoted and supported by the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA), based in Dublin.
“IMPACT has established that the proposals are not driven by concern about costs. We believe that the proposals are the last remaining attempt to erode local democracy in our areas. Both communities chances of maintaining control of library and fire services in their area will either be lost or substantially diminished,” he said.
IMPACT commenced a lobbying campaign, in January 2015, to retain fire and library services in counties where amalgamations were proposed. The union also met Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly last December to discuss the proposals and outline the union’s concerns.
IMPACT has mobilised community support to oppose the proposals and has now stepped up its campaign by writing to local councillors and election candidates. Mr Nolan said “The overwhelming majority of local elected representatives have supported the campaign, and Carlow County Council and Kilkenny County Council have also adopted supporting motions.
“We have also encouraged IMPACT members in Carlow and Kilkenny, which number almost 1,000, either to write to their local election candidates or question their position, and that of their party, when they appear on their doorsteps,” he said.