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Rural councils given 50 times cash of Dublin

DUBLIN councillors have written to Environment Minister Phil Hogan complaining about the allocation of central funding that sees some rural authorities get up to 50 times the sums allocated to capital services.

In the letter from a Dublin City Council committee, councillors expressed their concern over an analysis of the allocation of the Local Government Fund, which found €5.06 per capita was spent on services in Dublin city, as opposed to €260.47 per capita in Leitrim.

DELAYED

Under government plans, 80pc of the revenue from the Local Property Tax, which makes up a large portion of the LGF, will go to the area where the revenue was raised.

However, the implementation of this plan has been delayed until next year to ensure no local authority is worse off as a result of the cost of transferring services to Irish Water.

Now it has emerged that the chairman of the Dublin City Council Finance Strategic Policy Committee, Sinn Fein's Cllr Micheal MacDonncha, has written to Environment Minister Phil Hogan raising concerns over what he called "the continuing lack of clarity around the commitment to the retention of Local Property Tax Receipts".

He said that this year's funding allocation of €2.7m to the capital was "inadequate" and represented "a severe reduction" on the funding for 2013.

He claimed that the average reduction nationally was 52pc and added: "The Finance SPC observes that significant reductions applied to cities and urban areas of Dublin, Cork and Galway against the more muted reductions in rural areas."

Cllr MacDonncha wrote that the committee was "particularly concerned that the explicit commitment made by government to the retention of 80pc of Local Property Tax receipts be honoured."

The committee's figures showed that all four Dublin local authorities fare worse than rural areas, with per capita allocation of the LGF in 2014 standing at €1.66 in Fingal, €3.48 in South Dublin and €27.75 in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown.

To take two rural examples cited in graphs accompanying the letter, Longford will get €208.19 per person while Westmeath will get €117.40.

A spokesman for Environment Minister, Mr Hogan this morning told the Herald: "To just look at the local government fund allocation in isolation is not a valid comparison.

SIMPLE

"What they're doing there in Dublin is a simple analysis comparing the local government allocations without taking any account of the money they don't' have to pay in relation to water, which amounts to millions.

"They haven't mentioned that they don't have to pay, whatever it was in the context of water that Irish Water is paying."

"There's nothing new in this. It was announced at the start of the year that because of the establishment of Irish Water that, we couldn't allow the local authorities to retain 80pc.

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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