Councillors fail to reach agreement on 2013 Budget

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Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein have been accused of taking a 400 thousand euro gamble by failing to support Donegal County Council’s draft Revenue Budget for 2013.

Despite 14 hours of debate and almost a dozen adjournments Donegal County Councillors were unable to agree on the budget proposals and will have to come back to the issue on the 7th of January.

A proposed two euro a week rent increase to council house residents and the maintenance of the houses they live in proved to be the stumbling block.

The Fine Gael grouping’s proposals to avoid the increase were rejected by both Sinn Fein and Fianna Fail. Fine Gael says that as a result, the county council is faced with a 400 thousand euro bill in property charges on its housing stock.

Speaking to Highland Radio News at the meeting, Councillor Barry O’Neill claimed that could have been avoided if the budget was agreed before legislation on the charge was past nationally:

All parties on the council opposed the 2 euro rent increase proposed in the budget with a difference of opinion emerging as to were the cost could be offset.

Fianna Fail were adamant that more money should be found by the council to maintain and improve the local authority’s housing stock but Fine Gael and Labour’s proposals to avoid the rent increase would effectively see the maintenance budget cuts by 300 thousand euro to 1.6 million euro.

Fianna Fail Councillor Ciaran Brogan said his party could not accept that and rejected Fine Gael’s ‘gambling’ claims:

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