DECLAN BREE – Independent
CLLR DECLAN BREE is the longest serving member of Sligo County Council.
An experienced public representative, he is proud of his record in local government and still has a huge appetite for such work.
He says he is seeking re-election to challenge what he describes as the conservative consensus in local government.
He said: “Now more than ever before we need to campaign for a fairer, more equal Ireland that benefits all of the people rather than a select few. I see my work in local government as part of that campaign.
“My record will show how I have consistently challenged that comfortable consensus. I make no apology for saying we need genuine, real and radical change.”
A willingness to challenge officialdom and a willingness to speak up, Cllr Bree feels are some of his best strengths.
He said: “I believe I am an effective elected representative. I have refused to compromise on matters of principle and I have always stood my ground so as to ensure that the interests of the people of this community are protected. People know that I will not be fobbed off by officialdom. Over the years, despite attempts to silence me, I have helped to expose and highlight issues and decisions which the public had a right to know. I served my apprenticeship at the coalface of local government and I believe my experience and passion for local government work will continue to serve me and the people of Sligo.”
Over his time as a councillor, Cllr Bree has been involved in numerous projects in Sligo and
hopes to lend his experience to maximising Sligo’s potential.
He said: “I will help change Sligo for the better by continuing my work initiating and supporting new projects. “I recollect my early days as a councillor proposing that the lands at Kevinsfort and at Forthill be acquired for use as parks and that the racecourse area be open for recreation. I am also proud of my work in terms of the development of the Hawk’s
Well and The Model and I am particularly pleased as chair of the Strandhill Maritime Centre, that work on our new surf centre of excellence will commence shortly.”
“Today Sligo needs a new museum, library, additional sport and leisure facilities. We urgently need housing and we need to develop a disability friendly town in addition to the provision of improved health facilities and services.”
If re-elected, Cllr Bree’s main goals will be to address housing, the environment and employment among other issues.
He said: “Housing will be one of the priority issues I will be working on if re elected. In addition to building new houses we need to consider using compulsory acquisition of long term vacant houses. There are currently 4,727 vacant houses in Co. Sligo. Setting carbon reduction targets is another priority. Employment is an important issue.
“The Long-Term Vacant Property Incentive Scheme was established to promote job creation and encourage the use of vacant shops and commercial properties. The scheme has been successful in other counties It provides an incentive by way of a grant, related to the level of rates payable on the property.
“In addition to promoting employment it will help reduce the negative visual impact of empty commercial properties in Sligo. Legislation was also enacted in 2014 to give discretion to councils to vary the level of rates refunds that apply. If a Refund Scheme was introduced in Sligo it could provide additional €1 million income per year for the Council.”
Cllr Bree’s main message to the electorate is the need for a strong independent voice.
He said: “I believe that now more than ever there is a need to maintain a strong, effective and radical voice in our local government.
“I understand the balanced development that is required in Sligo and I am conscious of the
unique problems affecting both the county and urban area. My record will show that I have the commitment and the proven ability to ensure that your interests are effectively represented at local government level.”