Minister for Environment defends disparity in local services funding

Friday 21 March 2014 20.49
Figures released by DCC showed the city gets just over €5 per head compared to over €260 in Leitrim
Figures released by DCC showed the city gets just over €5 per head compared to over €260 in Leitrim

The disparity in local services funding, which sees Dubliners getting up to 50 times less than residents in other parts of the country, has been defended by Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan.

Figures released by Dublin City Council's Finance Committee this week showed that the city gets just over €5 per head compared to over €260 in Leitrim from the Local Government Fund, which is made up mainly of money paid by householders in Local Property Tax . 

Mr Hogan's private secretary Eddie Kiernan wrote to the committee on his behalf refusing its request to attend and added: "a direct comparison with rural authorities on a single measure of population, however, ignores the material differences in scale, service provision and demand that exist between authorities."

He also pointed out that Dublin City Council gets 85% of its expenditure, or €685m, from local charges and rates - income not available to other authorities.

The Government originally promised that 80% of Local Property Tax would be kept by each local authority but says this has been put back because of the costs of setting up Irish Water.

Finance Committee member Labour Councillor Dermot Lacey said the minister's attitude was unacceptable and unfair.

"Out of the €180m collected in LPT last year Dublin City Council received an outrageous €900,00 - yes less than €1m". 

"In refusing to meet with the Committee he [Mr Hogan] ignores the fact that, to-date Dublin has received the lowest portion of LPT allocation, despite paying the highest amount in.

"He ignores the fact that his Government refuses to pay commercial rates on State properties - including commercial ones - that last year cost Dublin city council over €30m.

"For example the Concert Hall does not have to pay rates yet the Gaiety, Bord Gais Theatre and Olympia do".