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County Council holds special meeting on €2.6m cuts

County Council holds special meeting on €2.6m cuts

Anton McNulty

Mayo County Council is holding a special meeting on Monday to discuss the looming €2.6 million council-budget cut that the Government is imposing in order to cover the household-charge shortfall.
The special meeting was called following a request from Fianna Fáil councillors, who wish to discuss the ‘implications’ of the budget cut.
The meeting will take place on Monday, September 10, at 2pm, an hour before the scheduled monthly meeting of the Council is due to take place. It is expected that if the special meeting lasts longer than the hour, standing orders on the scheduled meeting will be suspended to allow a full debate.
Fianna Fáil councillor Micheál McNamara told The Mayo News that he and his colleagues called for the meeting to be held because they believe the cuts will be a ‘disaster’ for the county going into the winter months.
While details about the cuts have not been released, it is understood that there will be a reduction in housing services for elderly people and road maintenance.
Cllr McNamara said that Minister Hogan’s handling of the household charge has resulted in blunders from the start. Instead of taking responsibility, Cllr McNamara said, the Minister was making the local authority pay the price.
“We want to know why there is a reduction in the budget. It is not fair that blunders made at national level are affecting local services. The household charge is an unfair charge which should have had a waiver system in place, because unfortunately there are people in arrears who obviously cannot pay.
“The Council cannot take the blame for a charge which was ill-considered and resulted in blunders. If this was a private enterprise the person making the blunder would have to pay for them – and in this case it is down to the Minister.
“€2.6 million is a huge amount of money to cut. If the cuts started at the start of the year, you might be able to spread it over a 12 month period. But it is only now coming to a meeting, and it is going to be a disaster for the county. We were told with the reduction in staff that local services would not be affected because others would take up the slack. I don’t think that can be done over the next three months,” Cllr McNamara said.
Fianna Fáil had requested a meeting at an earlier date but agreed to to put back the meeting after a request from the Council Executive, which wanted to have all the necessary figures and information on the budget cuts available to them.
A notice of motion has also been added to the agenda of the special meeting calling on the members of Mayo County Council to support the collection of all monies due to the local authority in order to maintain the services of Mayo County Council.

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