City and County Councils abandoned by Minister

8th October 2013

Cork City Cllr Seán Martin (who is a brother of Micheal Martin) has
accused the Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan of abandoning
local councils as many face huge liabilities in Property Tax and loan

Cllr Martin was speaking as Cork City Council faces liabilities of
over €3 million before the council budget 2014 discussions get

“The Property Tax was sold to the people on the premise that the money
collected would go towards local services. People paid the tax in good
faith, believing that the money would be spent on upgrading roads,
street lighting and libraries, for example. Cork City Council will
have to pay €400,000 this year and €800,000 for next year in Property
Tax with no benefit for local communities. On top of that, Cork City
Council was fined €400,000 last year for not having an 80% compliance
rate with the Property Tax by a certain date even though the rate was
eventually brought up to that figure.

“This money has now gone to central Government, while incredibly local
authorities have had their Government grant cut again. In fact, Cork
City Council was promised aid from central Government to help pay the
Property Tax on the city’s housing stock, this has also turned out to
be another broken promise.

“Loan repayments on land that was purchased by Cork City Council with
the consent of the central Government are now falling due sooner as
well. This is costing Cork City Council almost €2 million next year
alone. In previous years central Government would have paid the
capital and loan repayments, this has now also stopped.

“Councils are at breaking point, this year’s budget will be our
toughest yet and we have received no support from Minister Hogan. It
seems to be part of an overall policy being employed by the Minister
to dismantle local Government. We have already seen 80 town councils
abolished while other councils have been amalgamated. The Minster has
also stripped away power and services from councils.

“I am calling on the Government and Minister Hogan to exempt all local
authorities from paying the Property Tax until 2015, when local
authorities will be able to collect the tax themselves. This will go
some way towards easing the huge burden on local authorities as they
face hugely difficult budget decisions.”

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