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Rich utility companies raid Local Authority funds – Galway Sinn Féin

12 November, 2015 - by Cathal Ó Conchúir, Tom Healy

A new business rate re-evaluation process throughout the state has had the effect of reducing the contribution by a string of large profitable utility companies Vodafone, Meteor, 3Ireland, BT Ireland, Eircom and ESB to the tune of €21m.

According to Sinn Féin Galway West- South Mayo spokesperson, Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, this means that Local Authorities throughout the state will have a significant funding gap for next year.

Speaking today Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh said:

“When Oireachtas members met last week with the senior management of Galway City Council we were told by the manager about how impossible it is to keep the authority functioning due to the massive cuts of recent years. But to hear that they are being asked to hand over hundreds of thousands of euros to profitable commercial entities without even a whimper is astounding. This decision should be reversed and these utilities must be asked to pay their fair share in rates as well.”

Speaking on behalf of the Galway City Council Sinn Féin group: Councillor Cathal Ó Conchúir said:

“At the budget meeting last Monday 9th November Sinn Féin in Galway City Council pointed out with our own budget submission that over €800,000 was paid by the local authority to Central Government. This was from LPT on Local Authority Housing and on loan repayments. We pointed out that this was central government further eroding the ability of Galway City Council to move forward with worthwhile projects in the city. The business community is to be commended for facilitating a 3% rise in rates payments to help Galway promote our bid as European City Of Culture 2020.Today we discover that there has now been a disastrous rate revaluation for profitable utilities which will reduce Galway City’s income by a further €200,000. This is part of the nightmare economics imposed by the present Government on the citizens of Galway.”

Speaking for the Sinn Féin Galway County Council group, Councillor Tom Healy stated:

“By removing €757,000 from our budget without appropriate notice or consultation is just scandalous and a slap in the face for all struggling small businesses in the county. None of these utility companies have faced the same threats of closure that small businesses have done day in, day out since 2008. To allow these reductions after the economic downturn when these companies least need the support, is simply wrong. Myself and my colleagues in Galway Sinn Féin will fight this measure. I have already passed a motion in Galway County Council strongly condemning this revision.

"There is a window of opportunity at the minute to appeal this decision. I would appeal to all citizens to contact their local Government representatives, to stop this measure. A countrywide campaign needs to take place, as these cuts to council services have an impact on all our communities."

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