News & Current Issues
Here are some of the current issues.
THE DECISION BY the County Manager to employ private consultants to provide a report on Sligo County Council’s financial situation has been described as “a shocking waste of public funds” by Councillor Declan Bree.
“Sligo County Council is currently paying over a half a million euro in salaries to a County Manager, a management team and accountants, to do a job and ensure the finances of the council are properly managed. Yet we now have the County Manager proposing to pay private consultants to do the job which he is already paid to do. Where else but in Sligo would we witness such a scenario?” asked Cllr Bree.
“On the day the County Manager informed councillors of his intention to hire consultants we also learned from the Annual Financial Report that he had allowed the Council overrun its 2011 budget by €2,972,456.
“The Council is now over €70 million in debt. And is it any wonder? For the past number of years the County Manager has consistently asked councillors to adopt annual budgets that were based on fantasy, budgets that bore no resemblance to reality, budgets that were absurd and unattainable, budgets that led to massive deficits in the revenue account each year. And to make up for the shortfall each year the County Manger then urged councillors to take out loans and increase overdrafts.
“Unfortunately the majority of councillors dance to the County Managers tune and they have constantly voted for budgets and overdrafts which have undermined the council’s financial viability
“We don’t need to pay consultants to advise us on our financial situation. In January I told the Minister for the Environment that it was my opinion that the Council could not survive without a significant change in management and a major financial bailout.
"What is happening in Sligo is clearly unsustainable. While other councils may have had difficulties, the fact of the matter is that Sligo County Council in the only Council in the entire country where the revenue deficit is increasing year by year.” said Cllr Bree
THE PEOPLE OF rural Ireland will not be intimidated by threats from the E.U and the government. We will defend our turbary rights in the time honoured Irish tradition, said Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan T.D. when he addressed those attending the People First annual Easter 1916 Commemoration Ceremony in Sligo on Easter Sunday.
Led by flag-bearers carrying the Tri-colour and the Plough and the Stars, those participating in the event marched from Cairns Drive to the Republican Plot in Sligo cemetery to hear Deputy Flanagan deliver the oration.
“Our people have taken the responsibility of guardianship of Ireland’s natural heritage seriously, but there can be no effective guardianship where those who have traditionally shouldered that responsibility are ignored.
“We have been excluded from all decision making, denied consultation, denied access to information both general and scientific, denied representation, denied legal assistance and denied reasonable compensation or alternatives. We have had agreements dishonoured. We have been treated unfairly and we have been subjected to a state-backed campaign of intimidation, victimisation and threats.
“Whether it relates to turbary rights, household taxes or the proposed Fiscal Stability Treaty – we will not be dictated to. Families already reeling from austerity are finding it more and more difficult to make ends meet
“The austerity treaty will be a permanent policy and can only be described as a device for fleecing and robbing ordinary people.” Calling on people to vote ‘No’ to the Treaty Deputy Flanagan said “It is there to ensure that more of the people’s money will be spent on servicing a debt that is not theirs than will be spent on the people’s basic needs, such as decent health services and education.”
Sligo councillor Declan Bree, who presided at the ceremony told those attending “The revolt over household charges and the tax on peoples homes caught the government unawares and the Taoiseach and his cabinet are still trying to come to terms with the massive boycott of the tax.
“The forthcoming referendum on the European Stability Treaty gives the people a further opportunity to strike a blow against austerity.
“A clear ‘No’ vote will sent a definite message to the European elite that austerity has failed and that people have taken enough of their cuts and attacks.” said Cllr Bree.
Following the oration as a lone piper played a lament, Ms Brenda Barr laid a wreath on behalf of People First, Ms Laura Scanlon laid a wreath on behalf of the Connolly Forum and Mr Thomas Banks laid a floral tribute on behalf of the People’s Movement. The ceremony concluded with the National Anthem.
AT IT’S MONTHLY meeting the ruling group on Sligo County Council voted to impose cut backs in services to the value of €1million.
Addressing the meeting Cllr Declan Bree said, “The adoption of an annual budget is a reserved function of the elected members of a Council. Three months ago this Council spent an entire day giving consideration to the draft Annual Budget for 2012. The draft budget and back up documentation consisted of 146 pages. That budget was adopted.
“Now we have been presented with a two page report by the Council Manager where he says he intends to impose cuts of €1million. To my knowledge such a move is unprecedented and makes a mockery of local self government.
“Not surprisingly the Fine Gael/Labour ruling group on the Council are supporting the cut-backs being introduced by the County Manager.
“The report we have received from the County Manger provides a number of headings where cuts are being proposed, but the Manager does not provide any information to the Council as to specific cuts and how they may affect the community. This is totally unacceptable.
“To add insult to injury, the County Manger in the same two page report tells us that he intends to hire consultants to provide an independent report on the County Council’s financial situation. Like every other local authority in Ireland this Council is paying out hundreds of thousands of Euro in salaries each year to a County Manager, a management team and accountants, to do a job and ensure that the finances of the Council are properly managed. Yet now we have the County Manger proposing to pay private consultants to do the job which he is already paid to do. Where else but in Sligo would we witness such a ridiculous and wasteful proposal coming before a Council.
“There are 34 County and City Councils in the state, and there are 34 County and City Managers. I don’t think we need to pay consultants to find out why Sligo County Council is the only Council in the country where the revenue deficit is consistently increasing year by year.” said Cllr Bree.
Cllr Bree then proposed the following motion: “That this Council rejects the proposed cutbacks as contained in the County Manager’s Report of the 27th March 2012 and further the Council directs the County Manager to commence payment of the Housing Adaptation Grants to eligible applicants in accordance with the Department of the Environment’s Housing (Adaptation Grants for Older People and People with a Disability) Regulations 2007.” The motion was defeated by the Council’s ruling group who then proceeded to vote in favour of a Fine Gael motion to impose the €1million cut back in Council services.
THE GOVERNMENT DECISION to cease funding the Local Authority Housing Programme is bad news for the hundreds of families on this Councils Housing Waiting List, Cllr Declan Bree told this months meeting of Sligo County Council.
“The former Fianna Fail Minister for Housing Michael Finneran, managed to bring our housing programme to a standstill. However it is now clear that the Fine Gael/Labour government is implementing the same type of policy.
“Today there are over 600 applicants on this Council’s Housing Waiting list. There is a similar situation in the Borough with over 700 applicants on its Waiting list.
“As more people get into difficulty with mortgage repayments many of them will have no option but to apply for council housing.
“The Government is telling us to take out long-term leases on vacant houses and in turn rent the houses to applicants on the housing waiting list. They tell us that this is a new method for the delivery of social housing. However it’s clear that this is nothing more than a funding scheme for the speculators and developers.
“If the government is serious about providing social housing then it should avail of the opportunity that has been presented to it by the fall in property prices. It’s a buyers market. Councils should now be in a position to purchase houses at rock bottom prices from NAMA and make them available to families on the housing lists. However the new Government appears to have other priorities.”
Cllr Bree then proposed the following motion“That this Council calls on the Government and the Department of the Environment to reconsider its decision to cease funding the County Councils Housing Investment Programme and further we call on the Government to provide sufficient funding under the Social Housing Investment Programme to allow the Council to purchase at an economic price, suitable housing stock in the possession of NAMA.” The motion was seconded by Cllr Chris MacManus and was adopted by the Council.
AT IT’S MEETING this week Sligo County Council by a majority of 17 to 3 voted to approve over expenditure of €2.9 million.
Addressing the meeting Cllr Declan Bree said “When the County Manager presented his draft Budget for 2011 to this Council I pointed out to councillors that it bore little resemblance to reality and that it would sink us into deeper debt. I warned councillors of the danger of voting for it. However the Fine Gael and Labour councillors refused to listen to reason and they voted to adopt the County Managers budget which, according to the Financial Statement for 2011, has led to a further deficit of €2.9 million in the Council’s revenue account.
“Having plunged the Council into further debt the County Manager is now asking councillors to approve over-expenditure of the €2.9 million. Given the debts which the Council has run up over the past number of years what is being proposed here can only be considered as utter madness and totally unsustainable. I would urge its rejection. I certainly will not be voting for the County Manager’s proposal.” said Cllr Bree.
THE DECISION BY the County Manager to stop payments of Housing Adaptation Grants to needy applicants is outrageous and must be reversed as a matter of urgency. Cllr Declan Bree, said today.
“At the end of February the Department of the Environment announced its allocation of €798,147 to Sligo County Council to allow the Council to proceed with the payments of housing adaptation grants and help clear the backlog of applications which had built up during 2011. In compliance with Department conditions the Council provided for its required 20% matching contribution of €199,537 at its Estimates meeting in December.” said Cllr Bree.
“However despite the fact that the funding is in place, the County Manager has directed Council staff not to release the grants to the many applicants awaiting payments, and instead he requested the Department to fund the grant scheme 100%, or alternatively to allow the Council to process the grants on the basis that applicants would contribute the balance of 20% of the costs.
“It has now come to light that the Department responded highlighting the regulations relating to the administration of the grants scheme and making it clear to the County Manager that the Council is required to provide the 20% funding from its own resources. Yet, the grants are being withheld from those in need.” said Cllr Bree.
“The fact that the ruling group on the Council supports the decision of the County Manager and that plans are currently being prepared to impose further major cut backs in Council services is clearly a matter of significant concern.
“Fine Gael and Labour have danced to the County Managers tune for the past number of and having run up huge Council debts it would appear that they now intend to target the most vulnerable so as to reduce the deficit.
“Everyone is aware that the housing adaptation schemes, including the disability grant scheme and the grants for older people, are vitally important in helping older people and people with a disability to continue to live in their own homes and communities with the dignity they deserve.
“What we are talking abut here is an attack on elderly people and the disabled. There are almost 200 applicants currently awaiting grant approval. The money is in place but the grants are not being released. The decision is mean and cruel and must be reversed.” declared Cllr Bree.
THE FISCAL Stability Treaty presents us with a stark choice: vote ‘yes’ for long-term austerity, economic stagnation, unemployment and emigration, or vote ‘no’ for a programme of economic stimulus with hope for the future, Mr Thomas Pringle T.D. told a public meeting organised by the Peoples Movement in Sligo this week.
The Donegal deputy said “The Treaty specifically subordinates the Irish state to the economic programme laid down by the core euro states. It outlaws deficit financing, even when such is appropriate in either a Keynesian or a socialist model.
“If it had applied in the Thirties and Fifties, the Great Depression would have been permanent, and Seán Lemass’s Second Programme for Economic Expansion would never have happened.” he said.
The Vice-President of the Dublin Council of Trade Unions, Mr Mick O’Reilly, who also addressed the meeting said “The proposed new Treaty is in reality an austerity treaty – it is an undemocratic attempt to institutionalise austerity across Europe. Its ‘Fiscal Compact’ would deny the right of member state governments to run a ‘structural’ budget deficit of more than 0.5%. This would remove the democratic right of national parliaments to decide national budgets, with that power shifting to the unelected European Commission and European Court of Justice. This would be a fundamental transfer of power away from elected governments.”
Cllr Declan Bree, who presided at the meeting said “The imposition in the treaty of a permanent right wing economic ideology; the limitations on social investment; the subservient position of our Oireachtas; and the prioritisation of the needs of the banking sector are clearly unacceptable and must be rejected. It will tie the hands not only of this government but of all governments into the foreseeable future as regards economic policy.”
SUPPORTING A motion tabled by Cllr Sean MacManus relating to the Borough Council's Finance Department, Cllr Declan Bree said "there can be no justification for transferring the Finance Department from the Town Hall to the County Council."
"I have been approached by staff who have told me that the County Manager is planning to close down the Borough Finance Department here in City Hall and move it to the County Council offices in Riverside." he continued. "In fact people whom I met in the street over the past number of weeks have been able to tell me about this plan.
"It speaks volumes about the way the County Manger does his business when we have to depend on people on the streets to tell us of his plans. Again the Manager is treating the elected members of this Borough Council with utter contempt. Has he never heard of openness and transparency and local democracy.
"It is very clear to me and to the people of this town what this is all about. Sligo County Council is on the verge of bankruptcy – and it’s desperate to get it’s claw’s on the resources and finances of this Borough Council.
"Over the past number of years members of Sligo County Council borrowed millions and voted for annual budgets presented by the County Manager that were absurd and unattainable. As a result the County Council is over €70 million in debt and its debt is growing at the rate of €60,000 a week.
"On the other hand the members of this Borough Council acted in a responsible manner and rejected recommendations from the County Manger to borrow millions of Euro. If we had adopted the recommendations of the County Manger this Council would now be bankrupt and facing abolition.
"We all know that certain elements want to see Sligo County Council take over the running of the Borough Council to pillage and plunder and take every cent out of the town and squander it like they did with their own resources." Cllr Bree said.
"There can be no justification for transferring the Finance Department from the Town Hall to the County Council. It’s functioning extremely well and it continues to take in significant income despite the recession.
"We have to make it clear to the County Manager that he is not to interfere with Sligo Borough Council. This year we celebrate the 400th anniversary of the foundation of the Borough. We also celebrate a long tradition of good local government in this town. We have to make it clear that we will defend what is ours. The citizens of this town would never forgive us if we allowed our services to be taken over by the County Council." said Cllr Bree.
RESPONDING TO A report from the County Manager on the employment of a consultant to observe the behaviour of councillors at Council meetings Cllr Declan Bree told this months meeting of Sligo Borough Council that everyone in this community knows where this stems from. "It has nothing got to do with health and safety or bullying or inappropriate behaviour. That’s only a red herring.
"This all stems from the disgraceful recommendation that this Borough Council should hand over €1.3 million of public funds to a development company to assist them build a bridge to their private development on the Glasshouse site. This is what it’s about
"The County Manager was incensed when the recommendation to hand over €1.3 million was rejected and the matter was highlighted.
"At the Borough Council meeting when the recommendation was discussed I made it clear that there was significant public concern about the fact that certain senior officials and councillors wanted to hand over €1.3 million of public monies to a private development company to assist them build a bridge to their private development at the Glasshouse Hotel and I said this is considered daylight robbery and the public won’t stand for it.
"The County Manager then set up his kangaroo court in an attempt to divert attention from the real issue, the recommendation to hand €1.3 million of public monies to private developers. And when that didn’t work he decided to put the consultant from Wicklow on his payroll." said Cllr Bree.
"However I want to make it abundantly clear to the County Manger that I stand over everything I said. I have a mandate from the people of this community to protect their interests. And while they continue to vote for me I will speak on their behalf. I will not be muzzled by the Manager or his agents. The recommendation that the Council should hand over €1.3 million to a private development company to build a footbridge can only be described as scandalous. I will not apologise for telling the truth.
"It’s a public scandal that such a recommendation was ever made and then for the County Manager to suggest to councillors that 'it represents excellent value for money'. The fact is that that the development company applied for planning permission for a development which included a hotel, apartments, retail units and a pedestrian footbridge and it is a condition of the planning permission that the bridge shall be completed by the developers and open to public access within six months of the occupation of any of the apartments.
"I believe it’s now time for the County Manager to explain to the people of Sligo why a recommendation was made to the Borough Council that it should hand over €1.3 million to developers." Cllr Bree concluded.
AT ITS MONTHLY meeting the majority of members of Sligo County Council, in a bizarre decision, voted down a motion that information be provided on the sale of Council lands at Lisnalurg.
Proposing the motion which he had tabled Cllr Declan Bree said "In 2010 the Local Government Auditor pointed out in his annual report that the Council borrowed €11.2 million to purchase lands at Lisnalurg, Sligo.
"He pointed out that the Council subsequently sold some of the lands in question to a number of purchasers for the sum of approximately €9.6 million.
"By paying that €9.6 million off the loan, the Council should then have had an outstanding €1.6 million balance to pay off in addition to whatever interest was owed.
"However the Auditor discovered that when the Council received the €9.6million for the sale of the lands, only €5.2million of that sum was used to reduce the loan.
"I and indeed many more people want to know what happened to the remaining €4.4 million which the Council received for the sale of the land.
"That money should have been used to pay off the loan but it appears to have been used for some other purpose.
"Where is the €4.4 million? What was it used for? Why was it not used to pay off the loan? If the money was used for other purposes who authorised it? Why is there a reluctance on the part of the County Manager to provide a full report on this matter?" asked Cllr Bree.
"Because the money was not used to pay off the loan the Council has had to pay significant interest charges – we know from the Auditors Report that the accrued interest on the outstanding loan up to the end of 2008 amounted to €3.3 million.
"In May 2010 this Council asked to be provided with a comprehensive report relating to the purchase of the 83 acres of land at Lisnalurg, including the reason for purchasing the lands, the amount of monies borrowed to purchase the lands, the subsequent reason for recommending the sale of 49 acres of the lands and the reason for failing to use the proceeds of the sale to reduce the loans and interest payable, and the details of the accrued interest paid on the outstanding loans. However to date the County Manager has still not provided this Council with the report it sought.
"What we now need in Sligo is transparency and accountability. It is unacceptable that a sum of €4.4 million is unaccounted for and that no comprehensive report has been presented to the elected members.
Cllr Bree then proposed the following motion which was seconded by Cllr Sean MacManus: “Noting that it its meeting in May 2010 Sligo County Council adopted the following motion ‘That the Council be provided with a comprehensive report relating to the purchase of 83 acres of land at Lisnalurg, including the reason for purchasing the lands, the amount of monies borrowed to purchase the lands, the subsequent reason for recommending the sale of 49 acres of the lands and the reason for failing to use the proceeds of the sale to reduce the loans and interest payable, and the details of the accrued interest paid on the outstanding loans to date.’; and concerned that the comprehensive report has to date not been provided; this Council instructs the County Manger to provide the comprehensive report for consideration at the April 2012 monthly meeting of the Council and further the Council resolves that in the event of the comprehensive report not being provided that the entire matter be forwarded to the Committee on Public Accounts for investigation.” The motion was defeated by the combined votes of the Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail councillors.
AT IT'S MONTHLY meeting the members of Sligo County Council unanimoulsy adopted a motion tabled by Cllr Declan Bree,opposing the centralisation of the driving licence system.
Speaking to the motion Cllr Bree said "Local authorities have an exemplary track record in the management, operation and production of driver licences since the inception of the system 50 years ago. According to the Value for Money Audit, public satisfaction with the delivery of service has been recorded as satisfactory by 95% of users.
"However it would now appear that the responsibility for driver licences will be taken away for local authorities and transferred to the auspices of the Road Safety Authority and that the system will be centralised.
"I fear that the centralisation of the system runs the risk of a substantially inferior service being delivered to the public in general and to licence holders and applicants in particular.
"Local public representatives can confirm that the recent centralisation of the Medical Card system hasn’t worked and it is causing significant difficulties for the public.
"No coherent rationale has been presented for the proposal to centralise and to my knowledge there has been no cost benefit analysis carried out. In addition no public consultation has taken place on the matter.
"Employees and the trade unions representing Council staff quite rightly see this as another example of the dismantling of local authority services."
Cllr Bree then proposed the following motion which was adopted by the Council: “Recognising: (a) that local authorities have an exemplary track record in the management, operation and production of driver licences since the inception of the system almost fifty years ago; (b) that the centralisation of the system runs the risk of a substantially inferior service being delivered to the public; (c) that no coherent rationale has been presented for the centralisation of the system; (d) that no public consultation has taken place on the matter; Sligo County Council calls on the government to engage in constructive discussion and consultation with stakeholders and with the IMPACT trade union representing local authority staff, with a view to delivering efficiencies in the operation of the driver licence function.”
"THIS PROPOSAL from the County Manager to increase the Councils overdraft from €11 million to €14 million clearly confirms that this Council is on the verge of bankruptcy. It also speaks volumes about the manner in which the finances of this council have been managed." said Cllr Declan Bree at themonthly meeting of Sligo County Council.
"In March last year, just 12 months ago, the County Manger urged councillors to increase the overdraft from €5 million to €7.5 million.
"Despite such a significant increase, the Manager came back to councillors in September and urged them to further increase the overdraft, from €7.5 million to €11 million. Now he is asking councillors to further increase the overdraft from €11 million to €14 million. This is utter madness. It is totally unsustainable.
"This Council is over €70 million in debt. And is it any wonder? For the past number of years the County Manager has consistently asked councillors to adopt annual budgets that were based on fantasy, budgets that bore no resemblance to reality, budgets that were absurd and unattainable, budgets that led to massive deficits in the revenue account each year. And to make up for the shortfall each year the County Manger then urges councillors to take out loans and increase overdrafts. Unfortunately the majority of councillors dance to the County Managers tune and they have constantly voted for budgets and overdrafts which have brought this Council to the edge of the abyss.
"Indeed its only 8 or 10 weeks ago since we had Fine Gael councillors in this Chamber proposing a vote of confidence in the County Manager. Where else but in Sligo would we witness such a scenario?
"What is happening here is clearly unsustainable. While other councils may have had difficulties, the fact of the matter is that Sligo County Council in the only Council in the entire country where the revenue deficit is increasing year by year. This Council is now on the verge of bankruptcy." Cllr Bree said.
The motion to increase the overdraft was adopted with the combined votes of Fine Gael,Labour and Fianna Fail councillors. Councillors Declan Bree and Sean MacManus voted against the proposal.
A MOTION proposing that Sligo County Council work with other local authorities from the region to oppose the practice of hydraulic fracturing/fracking was unanimosusly adopted at the monthly meeting of Sligo County Council.
Proposing the motion Cllr Declan Bree said "Following the decision by this Council last month to call on the government to ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing/fracking, councillors and council officials from Leitrim, Sligo, Fermanagh and Cavan were invited to attend a meeting on the issue in Enniskillen. The meeting was hosted by Fermanagh District Council.
"Those from Sligo in attendance at the Enniskillen meeting were Cllr Jerry Lundy, Acting Director of Services Mr Tom Brennan and I.
"The meeting agreed to invite Minister Pat Rabbitte and Northern Minister Arlene Foster to a further meeting of councillors from the four councils in Enniskillen in the near future.
"The meeting also agreed that the draft motion on our agenda today should be circulated to each of the four councils for consideration and adoption.
"By adopting the motion it gives the Councils a mandate to work together and with other local authorities in the region to oppose the practice of hydraulic fracturing/fracking.
"I formally move the motion: “Recognising the dangers that hydraulic fracturing/fracking poses to water quality, to human safety and the general environment, this council resolves to work together with other local authorities in the region, to oppose the practice of hydraulic fracturing/fracking and we call on the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Irish Government to ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing/fracking North and South of the border.”
“THE CAMPAIGN against Household and Water Taxes and Septic Tank Charges has been building huge momentum over the past couple of months. Everywhere the message is clear; people cannot and will not pay the debts of bankers and property developers”, said Cllr Declan Bree when he spoke at a Protest Demonstration against household and water taxes, in O’Connell Street, on Saturday afternoon last.
Earlier over 400 people marched from the GPO to Minister of State, John Perry’s office in Old Market Street, where a letter of protest from the Sligo Campaign against all Household and Water Taxes was delivered.
Cllr Bree told the protesters that only a few years back the Fine Gael leader Mr Enda Kenny said that it was morally unjust and unfair to tax a person’s home.
“This is the same Enda Kenny who is now proposing to impose a tax on everyone’s home in this country.” said Cllr Bree.
“Mr Kenny described a household charge as ‘a vampire tax in that it drives a stake through the heart of home ownership’.
“And that is exactly what Mr Kenny and his colleagues in Fine Gael and Labour are attempting to impose - a vampire tax that will increase from €100 to €800 within two year – a vampire tax that will crucify households and families the length and breath of this country.
“And Mr Kenny and his cohorts in the Labour Party propose to use the monies raised by this vampire tax, to pay off the private debts of the speculators, the developers, the bankers and the bondholders – the vampires who have sucked the life blood out of our nation and out of our people.
“Today we are telling Mr Kenny and Mr Gilmore – and we are telling their local Oireachtas colleagues, John Perry, Tony McLoughlin, Imelda Henry, Susan O’Keeffe and Michael Comiskey, that we are not going to be bullied or browbeaten by their threats – that we are going to stand united – that we will not register for this vampire tax and that we will not pay this unjust tax.” said Cllr Bree.
AT ITS monthly meeting the members of Sligo County Council, by majority vote, adopted a motion proposed by Cllr Declan Bree, calling on the government to rescind its decision to impose a Household Tax
Addressing the meeting Cllr Bree said "A number of years ago while speaking in the Dail Enda Kenny said it was morally unjust and unfair to tax a person’s home. Mr Kenny likened such a charge to ‘a vampire tax in that it drives a stake through the heart of home ownership.
"However today Enda Kenny and the Fine Gael/Labour coalition are attempting to impose a household tax which is just another device to make the majority pay for the bank bailout. Ireland has a high rate of home ownership with 80% of the population owning their own house or apartment.
"This new tax has absolutely nothing to do with improving Council services – the proceeds will go towards the bailout of bankers and developers, for which ordinary people are being bled dry.
"At last months meeting of this Council we were clearly advised by officials that the household tax not would not provide any additional funds for the Council but would in fact create an extra burden for the Council." said Cllr Bree.
"The Household Tax is extremely unpopular. In the face of this unpopularity, Fine Gael and Labour are trying to threaten us with fines and sanctions to make us pay up.
"What the government is attempting to impose is not a property tax in the real sense – one which would be levied on the wealth and assts held by the wealthiest sections of society. A real property tax would make sure those who own real wealth would be obliged to pay more taxes. Instead what is being imposed is simply a home tax.
"This new tax is unfair, unjust, immoral and must be resisted. I therefore propose the following: 'Recognising that the new Household Charge is unfair and unjust; and aware that the Charge will not result in any additional funds for local authorities and in fact will be a burden on this Council and other local authorities; Sligo County Council calls on the Government to rescind its decision to impose the Charge.'" Cllr Bree's motion was seconded by Cllr Sean MacManus.