Report Recommends More Road Tolls

A report by a local government group has today called for more tolls on national roads as part of a package to save €500 million.

The Local Government Efficiency Review Group's Cabinet approved the report, which will be published today, at its meeting in Farmleigh on Wednesday.

The document contains 106 recommendations totalling €511 million in savings and includes proposals for extra levies on those who do not pay their motor tax online along with the merging of local authority management.

The Minister for the Environment John Gormley is commissioning the report. He is expected to begin implementing some of its recommendations almost immediately.

Under some of the proposals expected to go ahead in the short term are the reduction in the number of county managers from 34 to 24, while ten new administrative areas will serve 20 city and county council areas. It is also proposed that senior and middle management levels be cut by up to 20%.

Social housing rents may also start to be deducted directly from social welfare payments while drivers would see the cost of a ten-year driving licence increase from €25 to €40.

Also being discussed in the report is an increase in devolution of decision making to town councils, including directly elected mayors in other cities and counties.

Speaking today on ahead of the document's publication, Minister Gormley said: "I have asked the Group to complete its work by mid-2010, which is by any standards a relatively short period.

"The economic climate that we are in requires us to bring a new and sharper focus to those sectors which spend significant


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