Sunday 18 February 2018

Kelly lobbied for additional funds to prevent cuts to Tipperary council

Alan Kelly
Alan Kelly
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Environment Minister Alan Kelly lobbied for increased funding for the State's property tax distribution fund so to ensure services provided by Tipperary County Council and other local authorities were not affected.

Under the current system, councils retain 80pc of the proceeds from the property tax collected in their area, with the remaining 20pc channelled into a Government-operated "equalisation fund".

On Friday, Mr Kelly detailed that nine local authorities are in the position financially to reduce property tax bills for householders - but that the remainder do not have this flexibility.

But the Irish Independent understands that an additional €25m was drawn from exchequer funding last week after a shortfall was discovered in the fund, which is used to ensure less well-off local authorities can pay for vital local services.

Mr Kelly personally lobbied Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin for the additional money after it emerged that a number of rural constituencies, including his own of Tipperary, would suffer as a result of the shortfall.

Without the additional funding, Tipperary would have been among the biggest losers in terms of funding cuts.

A source said Mr Kelly was "determined" to ensure that the share of the equalisation fund to Tipperary County Council be maintained at just under €13m.

After a discussion at Cabinet, it was agreed that an additional €25m would be provided from central exchequer funding which ensured funding was maintained at last year's level.

"It's important that rural local authorities benefit from the equalisation fund to protect local services," a spokesman for Mr Kelly told the Irish Independent last night.

Irish Independent

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