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Political proposals ...

Fine Gael: Will implement 80pc of the savings identified in the Local Government Efficiency Review group report.

These included more road tolls, hikes in the cost of a driving licence, and increased planning fees.

The party plans to introduce water charges, but only after establishing a national body to oversee water infrastructure. It also plans a property tax, and may consider closing "non priority" services and charging more for local services.

  • FIANNA FAIL: Will install a water metering system between 2012 and 2014. Also plans to implement the Local Government Efficiency Review group report and to introduce a property tax.
  • LABOUR: Says local government needs "significant reform". A local government director of audit will report to the Oireachtas every year on where savings and efficiencies can be made. Merging local authorities also possible.

The party does not favour water charges. A property tax is likely, but not before 2014.

Irish Independent