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Sinn Féin opposes draft budget 2012 for Dublin City Council at annual budget meeting

29 November, 2011


Sinn Féin councillors last night opposed the draft budget 2012 at the annual budget meeting of Dublin City Council.

Speaking last night Sinn Féin Dublin City Councillor Micheál Mac Donncha said:

“Ní bheidh Comhairleoirí Shinn Féin ag tacú leis an Dréachtbhuiséad seo. Ní buiséad cothrom é, ní buiséad daonlathach é ach is céim siar mór é do saoránaigh na Cathrach seo.

“Dublin City Council met last night at its annual statutory Budget meeting in an unreal situation. We were asked to endorse a Draft Budget for 2012 without knowing what the City's funding from central government will be for the coming year. We know there will be a drastic reduction in central Government funding but we don't yet know the full extent of that reduction.

“We are being asked to buy a pig in a poke. We are being asked to rubber stamp a Budget that ultimately has been dictated by the Troika of the IMF, the European Central Bank and the European Commission.

“A year ago to the very day, on 28 November 2010, what remained of our economic sovereignty was signed away when the Fianna Fáil/Green Government agreed the punitive and disastrous austerity programme with the Troika.

“At the end of October this year the State's Exchequer deficit stood at €22.1 billion – but half of this figure – an incredible €10.7 billion – is money given by the current Government of Fine Gael and Labour to the banks since taking office - €3.1 billion of it to Anglo-Irish Bank.

“The result of this disastrous economic strategy – begun by Fianna Fail and the Greens and continued now by Fine Gael and Labour – is mass unemployment, further impositions on ordinary citizens, especially the most vulnerable, and the destruction of public services – including local government services.

“As a direct result of this we are now being asked to endorse a City Council Budget based on household charges, waste collection privatisation, charges for fire service call-out and the dramatic reduction of capital spending – especially on housing.

“From January 2012 the unjust and inequitable Household Charge is to be imposed on citizens and this flat tax will form the basis of the Local Government Fund. Many citizens will be unable or unwilling to pay this further tax, thus depleting funding for local government. Once again central Government is shifting the burden onto the backs of citizens and reducing public services. The legislation to provide for this unjust tax has not even been considered yet by the Oireachtas – it will only be introduced this Thursday.

“Three times in the past two months the elected members of Dublin City Council have voted against the privatisation of the City's waste collection service. Yet the City Manager is proceeding with privatisation in defiance of democracy and the Draft 2012 Budget is based on the elimination of this service. We don’t even know at this stage to what extent – if any – or for how long people on low incomes will qualify for waivers of bin charges from the privatised service.

“This Budget also seeks to impose a charge on householders for calling out the Fire Service. This is a dangerous proposal which may deter some people from calling the emergency services. It is also inequitable given that people already pay such a charge as part of their insurance premium, even though the insurance companies do not pass payments on to the local authorities.

“We accept that Council staff at all levels have worked hard to maintain services with greatly tightened finances. The Draft Budget attempts to make the most of greatly reduced resources. However we cannot endorse a Budget that is the implementation at City Council level of a disastrously failed economic strategy and that will impose undue and unnecessary hardship on citizens.

“Sinn Féin nationally has presented an alternative economic strategy based on fostering jobs and growth, fair taxation and sharing the burden equitably. As Councillors we will campaign on the basis of those demands, representing our communities and standing shoulder to shoulder with those resisting the imposition of further hardship on citizens and the further erosion of both national and local democracy.”

ENDS

Contact: Cllr. Mícheál Mac Donncha 086 1021945.

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