Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on the Environment, Community & Local Government Brian Stanley TD, has today claimed that the actions of Clare County Council “are punitive, discriminatory and illegal.”
Speaking in the Dáil during this afternoon’s Question Time, Deputy Stanley demanded that the Minister for Environment Phil Hogan, “reverse the cuts in the Local Government Fund and restore adequate funding for local democracy and the provision of Council services to our citizens and communities.
“It is outrageous for a minister to slash the funding for local government in mid-year, significantly reducing the allocation signalled at the start of the year. It typifies the slash and burn approach of this Government.
“The minister introduced the doomed Household Charge and then followed this by cutting local government funding, forcing local authority officials to demand proof from college grant applicants that their families paid the Household Charge.
“We received legal advice this morning. We are confident that the actions of Clare County Council are not only punitive but are illegal. The grant applicant is not responsible for payment of the household charge therefore cannot be punished for its non-payment. The information sought is an irrelevant consideration. We are confident that the action of Clare County Council’s would be deemed unlawful by the High Court.
“Minister Hogan should stop condoning this bully boy behaviour and instruct local authorities to desist.”
In conclusion Deputy Stanley said, “I have written to the Ceann Comhairle seeking a full debate on the matter tomorrow.”