'Government parties' under pressure to plug €3.3m Waterford budget shortfall
Sinn Féin councillor Conor D. McGuinness has said that the onus is now on the confidence and supply parties of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to fill the gap in Waterford’s finances which "has arisen as a result of their decisions at national level."
An issue with a longstanding Irish Water rates mechanism has led to a €3.3m shortfall in Waterford Council's budget.
McGuinness said: “Waterford Council cannot be expected to do the Government’s dirty work in imposing a €3.3 million cut to Waterford City and County Council’s budget.
“This shortfall arises from decisions taken by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil at national level and will disproportionately impact Waterford. The Council is expected to take a €3.3 million cut on the chin and to implement either savage cuts to services and funding, or to impose rates increases of 13.5% on local businesses," Cllr McGuinness fumed.
He continued: “I supported a cross-party motion today that puts the ball firmly in the Government’s court and puts the onus on them to clean up the mess they created.
"Whether this latest cut came as a result of financial incompetence or due to the well-worn track of successive governments underfunding and undermining Waterford is irrelevant at this juncture.
"I will seek to meet Government ministers over the coming days as part of a cross-party delegation, and I will work with public representatives from all parties and none to seek a resolution to this mess.
“Services are already stretched and under pressure. There are backlogs in roads improvement works and housing maintenance. Businesses in Waterford need security.
"We have sent a message today to the highest levels of Government today to tell them that a €3.3 million cut is not an option for Waterford City and County Council and neither is a 13.5% rates increase.
“Sinn Féin will stand up for the people of Waterford City and County and we will not tolerate a situation where our communities and our small and medium employers are treated as the collateral damage of short-sighted and damaging Government decisions," Conor concluded.