Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Government undermining local authorities

28 November, 2005

Press conference today, 11am, Buswells Hotel, Molesworth Street.

Sinn Féin Átha Cliath outlined its position on the proposed Council Estimates for Dublin City Council at a press conference in Dublin this morning. The Estimates will be voted on tonight at City Hall. The press conference was chaired by Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle member Caoilfhionn Ní Dhonnabháin and addressed by Cllrs Daithí Doolan, Sinn Féin Representative for Dublin South-East, and Larry O'Toole, Sinn Féin Representative for Dublin North-East.

Cllr Daithí Doolan argued that the central point was the deliberate undermining of local government by central government.

"Sinn Féin believes in strong local government, which can deliver for the people of Dublin City," said Cllr Doolan. We have continually opposed the deliberate and systematic undermining of local government that has disempowered the elected representatives of the people. Power and authority has been deliberately shifted to an unelected bureaucracy.

The State refuses to pay rates that should be owed to local authorities. It siphons away compensation money paid under Part V of the Development Act. The Local Government Fund is minimalist, rigged and prevents multi-annual budgeting.

"We are calling for local government reform and changed spending prioritise to invest in the key areas of childcare, parks and play areas and in the housing crisis. The document we are presenting today, Delivering for Dublin, outlines some of our key proposals in this area", Cllr Doolan said.

Cllr Larry O'Toole outlined Sinn Féin's position on the vote tonight:

"We have maintained a 100% record in the Estimates since I joined the Sinn Féin team in City Council in 1999, and are the only party to have done so," said Cllr O'Toole. "The Estimates tonight will again contain the regressive stealth tax known as the bin charges.

"Such was the success of the campaign in Dublin in opposition to these charges, a campaign that saw members of Sinn Féin imprisoned, that the Government changed the law to take the power to set the rate on Bin Charges out of the hands of the elected representatives of the people and put it in the hands of the City and County managers across the state.

"We opposed this legislation in Leinster House and on the streets of Dublin. We will continue to oppose its outworkings in the Council chamber and as a result tonight all ten Sinn Féin councillors will be voting no to the Estimates." ENDS

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