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Order of Business

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Senator Jennifer Murnane O'Connor

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Senator Jennifer Murnane O'Connor

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I welcome everyone back after our summer break. I am sure we were all doing clinics and were very busy. I want to raise the matter of local government funding. As Senators are aware, the 31 local authorities are preparing for the budget. We are also aware that each local authority has to have its local property tax budget meeting over by the end of September. I have massive concerns about that. I think it is unfair. Most local authorities are looking for increases in this tax. I am concerned about the funding of local government. I will give some statistics. If one looks at Carlow for 2016, we got just a little over €2 million from central Government. Kilkenny got €3.5 million; Leitrim got well over €6.5 million; Longford got €6.5 million; Laois got €4 million; and Sligo got nearly €6 million. If one looks at our figures, Carlow has had an increase in population of 4.1% since 2011. Carlow town is the 14th largest urban area in Ireland. If one looks at the figures, one will see that Longford received 52% more funding than Carlow, yet it has a 29% lower population. Leitrim received 55% more Government funding, even though it has a population 42% less than Carlow.
I have major concerns about this because local authority budgets impact so much on people's lives, whether in the form of housing, grants, roads or community funding. If this local government funding is not distributed evenly to each local authority, it is unfair. It is not right. The Government needs to be accountable for why the local authority in Carlow got only €2 million when most other local authorities were getting €4 million in local government funding. The Minister needs to be brought into the House to account for this.