Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Wicklow County Council Budget pushed through by Hypocrites in Fianna Fáil, Labour and Fine Gael

Wicklow County Councils annual budget was pushed through at Mondays
council meeting, but it has been described by Sinn Féin County
Councillors John Brady and John Snell as hypocritical, unfair and
doing the Governments dirty work of introducing unfair stealth taxes.
After a lengthily debate the budget was pushed through by Fianna Fáil,
Labour and Fine Gael with Sinn Féin opposing it.

Speaking after the meeting Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady said
"The Wicklow County Council budget meeting which was held on Monday
last was nothing short of a joke. We seen the established party's of
Fianna Fáil, Labour and Fine Gael circle the wagons to protect their
own lavish expenses whilst agreeing a budget which cuts from frontline
services and does the Governments dirty work of paving the way for the
introduction of the Home tax and Domestic water Charges."

Cllr Brady continued "Myself and my party colleague John Snell went
into the budget meeting with the intention of protecting frontline
services, funding to community groups and ring fencing funding for
economic development and at the same time tackling the lavish expenses
some of the select Councillors are given. Unfortunately what we
witnessed at the budget meeting was the circling of the wagons by the
establishment parties on the council. Sinn Féin put forward an
alternative budget proposal that would have seen cuts of 20% to the
lavish expenses paid to some Councillors, this proposal included cuts
to the Chairpersons allowance which is €37,918.60 a year and including
his other expenses and allowances results in a total of €60,628 a year
or €1,165.92 a week. We also proposed further cuts of 20% to the
€6,564 paid to the vice chair of the council which is given on top of
his other payments, a cut of 20% which is given to the 5 chairs of the
Strategic Policy Committees (SPC) which is €1,500 per meeting and
further cuts to the Junket fund which contains over €100,000."

Cllr John Snell went onto say "The cuts that Sinn Féin proposed would
account for some of the funding that was needed to balance the books
it would have shown leadership and not to be hypocritical by imposing
cuts whist protecting their own lavish expenses. Unfortunately after a
lengthily debate on the Sinn Féin proposal and every excuse given not
to cut their expenses the Sinn Féin proposal was voted down by the
majority of Councillors."

Cllr Brady stated "The budget that was adopted by Labour, Fianna Fáil
and Fine Gael is an attack on frontline services and results in
funding being cut from the maintenance of local authority housing, the
fire-service, Economic and Development promotion, and Beeches to name
a few areas. The passing of the budget also paves the way for the
introduction of domestic water charges with €171,000 provided for
domestic water meter surveying staff. The budget also makes provision
for the unjust Home tax which i stated at the meeting would be final
nail in the coffin of many families who are already on the breadline
living with distressed mortgages and in negative equity and coupled
with domestic water charges would compound the difficulties families
are enduring. The County Manager Eddie Sheehy also stated that there
was no provision in the budget for the payment of property tax on
local authority houses even though the government said that local
authorities will have to pay for the tax for local authority
dwellings, he informed the meeting the council will now have to carry
out an evaluation exercise on local authority houses to calculate what
they owe starting from 1 July and he refused to rule out rent
increases to those in council houses."

Cllr Brady concluded "The budget which was adopted by the County
Council and rejected by Sinn Féin is unjust and unfair and has been
imposed on the people of Wicklow by hypocrites who are only too
willing to do the governments dirty work whilst protecting their own
outrageous and lavish expenses."

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