Budget hits rural people hardest- colr

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An Inishowen councillor has asked Donegal County Council to come up with an alternative budget following a breakdown in discussions at the end of December.

Newtowncunnigham based Paul Canning claims the Council need to look into something which allows the housing grants and the ‘proper’ roads budget to remain.

He says, he and his fellow Fianna Fail councillors, could not support a budget which was “cutting the Roads Maintenance Budget by over a million euros” and the housing grants “altogether”.

The Newtown man said he hoped they could adopt a budget which “looks after the rural community” as he believes imposing charges such as septic tank charges, the household charge and the school bus fee impacts the rural people more “severely”.

“People got bullied into accepting the rural school bus charge, which has been outrageously increased, and the same is going to happen with the 100 euro household charge.

“Heaven knows where the septic tank charge is going to end along with the water charges rising to approx. 400 euro per year.

”The Budget talks broke down when county councillors were unable to agree the terms of the budget before Christmas. The deadline to adopt the budget is the 10th January.

“It seems that every time a proposed legislation is passed or a budget spending cut is adopted, the rural community are always hit and this is just not acceptable in this current economic climate.”

He added: “This is the reason why the Fianna Fail party are having difficulties in adopting both the budget and the development plan at local level. The budget should have been adopted by now but unfortunately we have found ourselves having to work with a lot less finances to try and supply a service to the people of Donegal.

“We as public representatives will be voicing our concerns at every opportunity, unfortunately the present government has such an overall majority it will probably fall on deaf ears.”

At the last meeting of the council there was serious disruption both within and without the council chamber.

Numerous attempts at reaching concensus were foiled as councillors repeatedly came to loggerheads in regard to cutbacks.

And outside the chamber there were various groups protesting against the ongoing charges and cutbacks being imposed.

However, the council will have to reach agreement on January 10th next because failue to do so will result in government imposing a working budget for the year ahead.