By Councillor Clare Daly
FINGAL COUNCIL’S 2009 Capital Programme could be cut by .55 million following a financial directive from the Department of the Environment that prohibits the Council from using its full reserve fund of developers’ levies. This insane advice from the government directs that “expenditure is funded from income received or due within the year” and would mean that only existing works which have contracts can go ahead.
Having cut the Council’s funding already by 7%, the government is now preventing Fingal from spending money contributed by people when they bought their houses during the development boom.
For years the Socialist Party has been campaigning across north and west Dublin for the infrastructure to support all the development that has taken place. It is an absolute disgrace that badly needed facilities which residents have paid for have not been delivered before now. It is scandalous that our communities are to endure these additional cuts in works that the money is actually there to pay for! In addition, building workers and others could be taken off the dole to do these jobs, which would benefit the economy overall.
Unless this crazy directive is overturned, it could lead to the shelving of projects such as the proposed Brackenstown Community Centre in Swords, which is long promised and was due to go out to tender, the completion of the Park in Lanesborough, the FAI mini-pitch in Rivermeade, Mourne View Community Centre, and so on – projects that residents have driven forward and which should have been completed long ago. It could rule out community facilities, road works, parks etc. for communities that have experienced massive growth, such as Balbriggan, Kinsealy and Dublin 15. In effect the Council is grinding to a standstill.
The Socialist Party has been actively campaigning in Fingal since this totally undemocratic and economically unsound directive was announced, to inform the community and encourage massive pressure to be targeted on Fianna Fail and the Greens. A number of public meetings will be organised by local campaign groups in relation to various facilities. The so-called “public representatives” need to be aware that either this decision goes or they do. In the event the directive is not overturned, we believe it should be ignored by the Council, and no project should be cancelled.