Spiralling budgets must be brought under control
THE €4.3bn black hole in council finances is the elephant in the room that none of the political parties are talking about. There's a simple reason; no party wants to highlight possible job losses, cuts in services and a raft of local taxes.
Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour aren't looking at reform of local government, and there's barely a mention in their election manifestos. Instead, the focus in this election has been on populist reforms -- like reducing the number of TDs, abolishing the Seanad and eliminating the quangos. But the mess uncovered by the local government auditor in his trawl of the State's local authorities' accounts should focus minds, and quickly.
Unless action is taken, an Ireland where street cleaning takes place every couple of weeks, where lighting isn't repaired and where potholes litter the road network could become a grim reality.