The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Local Government Brian Stanley has strongly criticised further cuts to the allocation from the Local Government Fund to local authorities.
He was responding to figures provided to him from Minister Phil Hogan who said that the total allocation for 2014 will be €281 million, down from €640 million in 2013.
Deputy Stanley said:
“The current Government has slashed the allocation to local authorities from €700m when it took office to just €281 million this year. That represents a massive challenge to the ability of local authorities to provide services.
“In the same period we have seen local authorities make 25% of their staff redundant, make drastic cuts to the provision of services such as libraries, parks, roads and housing.
“The Local Property Tax will contribute €530 million to the Local Government Fund this year but instead of providing for local services as promised, €486 million will be used to subvent Irish Water.
“The same applies to motor taxation, €600 million of which is being taken into the central exchequer, again impacting on the ability of local authorities to look after the upkeep of roads under their responsibility. Road users paid €1.1 billion last year in road tax on the understanding that this would be used to maintain roads, footpaths and public lighting.
“The Minister excused the cuts on the basis that local authorities no longer have water related costs but the cuts far out weight those costs. On top of that people within local authority areas will have to pay water charges, so in effect they are paying for Irish Water in several ways.
“The Minister and his party Fine Gael and the Labour Party have engaged in deceit over all of this. People were told that the Local Property Tax would go to fund local services. Hardly any of it will. They were also told that Irish Water would save money.
“Not only is it massively over-running estimated costs but it is proving to be a further drain on the ability of democratic local authorities to provide services.”