The issue of paid parking continues to be debated in Mallow. The Town Council argues that it needs the money to run the town. Why should pay parking be privatized? Why is a private company running the pay parking in Mallow? This to me removes democracy from decision making in Mallow. A private company is not answerable to the people of Mallow. The money to pay the rates do not fall from the sky. It comes from local business. Pay parking is driving business out of Mallow. It is reducing the local tax base in Mallow.
The issue of paid parking is a sign of the lack of real local democracy in Ireland. It is local officials and privatized services like waste collection that have power in local government. The new reforms will mean less councillors. It will mean that the officials and central government will have more power than they do at the moment. National and international democracy should be based on local democracy. The early Fabian socialists believed that was the only method humanity should use to change society was democracy. They were interested in local government. They sought to reform local government. They sought to make local government more democratic. We should be grateful that we live in a democratic society. The struggle for democracy has not ended,it continues today. We and future generations must continue to make Ireland more democratic in our local as well as in our national institutions. The struggle continues.
John O Brien.