The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on the Environment and Local Government Brian Stanley TD has accused the Government of slashing funding to local government in order to pay for the burgeoning costs of Irish Water.
The Laois/Offaly TD was commenting on figures provided by Minister Phil Hogan which show that general purposes allocations from the Local Government Fund in 2014 will be down by €320 million. Departmental Estimates detail that at the same time Irish Water will receive a subvention of €490 million from the Local Government Fund.
Deputy Stanley said:
“In his reply to my question regarding allocations from the Local Government Fund to local authorities, Minister Hogan explained the massive drop as being the consequence of “the removal of water related costs from local authorities to Irish Water.” In fact what is happening is that local authority funding is being cut in order to pay directly for Irish Water through the €490 million subvention from the Fund.
“Given that the Local Property Tax will contribute €550 million to the Local Government Fund in 2014, what in effect is happening is that the LPT tax is mostly going to Irish Water, rather than to supporting local services and amenities as was claimed at the time.
“People are in effect paying three times for Irish Water. Their Local Property Tax will be going to pay for the new entity and its consultants and executives rather than for the parks, libraries and public lighting claimed by the Minister. Another €240 million is being taken from general taxation and on top of that they will be paying for their water through domestic water charges.”