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City council in last-minute deal on 2015 budget to avoid collapse

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The Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr. Mary Shields. Photo: Billy MacGill

The Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr. Mary Shields. Photo: Billy MacGill

The Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr. Mary Shields. Photo: Billy MacGill

ONE of Ireland's largest councils narrowly avoided being dissolved last night after agreeing its 2015 budget at the eleventh hour.

Cork City Council agreed a budget after Lord Mayor Mary Shields (Fianna Fail) had appealed to councillors to put aside partisan politics.

She said it was vital councillors work together for the good of the city and that Cork retain full control of its own affairs.

The council would have been dissolved if it had not agreed a budget by the deadline.

The council was plunged into crisis last week after it twice failed to ratify its financial programme for next year.

That was the first occasion since 1991 that Cork City Council had failed to reach agreement at a budget meeting.

After a marathon budget meeting on November 17, councillors rejected the financial proposals in two ballots by 15 to 14 vote margins.

Several councillors were furious that the city had lost €43m in Government grants in just three years.

However, the prospect of the city being placed under administration and promises that no cuts would be made to community or road budgets last night led to an easing in the political impasse.

The budget was eventually passed last night by 17 votes to 12 with one abstention.

Elsewhere, 2015 budgets were successfully adopted by Cavan, Kildare and Tipperary county councils respectively.

In Westmeath, councillors adjourned their debate for a period last night after debating their area's budget for almost eight hours.

Monaghan County Council is due to meet in December after failing to agree a budget earlier this month.

Irish Independent