Donegal County Council officials have confirmed that councillors have until next Monday to pass a budget for 2014.

Following a lengthy meeting yesterday, which ran until after midnight, councillors failed to adopt a budget with 15 voting against it and 13 voting in favour.

Discussions on the budget began on 18 December but were adjourned to 6 January and then 7 January.

In total, there were 21 adjournments over the three days.

It had been thought that failure to adopt the budget by last night would result in the dissolution of the Council, but under Section 103 (6) of the Local Government Act 2001 the meeting could be adjourned again.

However, the councillors must adopt a budget at the conclusion of a meeting on 13 January or face dissolution, which would mean that an administrator from the Department of the Environment would step in to run the council along with its executive staff.

Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin councillors along with independent Cllr John Campbell voted against the budget last night.

Fianna Fáil whip Cllr Ciaran Brogan said nothing would be achieved before 13 January unless there were major changes to the issues they had raised with management and Government, including the transfer of assets and responsibility for water services to Irish Water.

Mr Campbell had supported the adjournment to 13 January but Sinn Féin said there was no logic to adjourning the meeting any further.

Fine Gael Cllr Bernard McGuinness said that members owed it to the people of Donegal and the executive staff to explore all options and make one last ditch attempt to resolve differences.