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Money cannot be ringfenced locally – Hynes


‘WE HAVE A SINGLE CAPITAL ACCOUNT’  Chief Executive, Peter Hynes.

Edwin McGreal

The sale of council property within a municipal district cannot be ring-fenced to that district, Mayo County Council’s Chief Executive Peter Hynes has told councillors.
It came after lengthy debate by councillors over the sale of council land in Ballina to Aldi, which local councillors had only agreed to on the basis the money from the sale stay in Ballina.
The meeting was told that two parcels of land in the Teeling Street Car Park in Ballina were being sold to Aldi Stores Ireland Ltd for €380,000. Ballina councillors had agreed at municipal district level to the sale of the land on the proviso the money stay in the district.
It was up before the July meeting of Mayo County Council for final approval. Cllr Mark Duffy (Ind) proposed approving the sale on the basis the €380,000 stay in the town.
He was supported in this by Cllr Michael Loftus (FF) and Cllr John O’Hara (FG).
However, Mr Hynes said the money could not be ring-fenced for Ballina.
“We have a single capital account for this local authority. We are not in a position to run four capital accounts for each municipal district,” he said.
Cllr Peter Flynn (FG) argued this was ‘a really important point’.
“I don’t understand why we cannot set up separate capital accounts for the districts,” he said.
Later on Mr Hynes said the spending of the money will be ‘reflective’ of where it came from in ‘a balanced way’.
The meeting then debated whether or not the matter should go back to the next meeting of Ballina Municipal District to discuss whether to approve it or not with the knowledge the money could not be ring-fenced.
However, Cllr Annie May Reape (FF) urged that the sale be approved on the day.
“The developer will be on the phone to me this evening to see how this went. No matter what we say here, things are not going to change,” she said, adding it would be ‘counter productive’ to delay the issue.
Cllr Damien Ryan (FF) said it was ‘important money is allocated equally around the county’ and proposed approving the disposal of lands. It was seconded by Cllr Michael Loftus and there was no counter proposal. The sale was approved.