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Cllr Danny Collins said €1.65 million should be divided amongst them to spend in their areas.
Cllr Danny Collins said €1.65 million should be divided amongst them to spend in their areas.
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County Councillors should have €30,000 each to spend in their district as they wish

Each of Cork's 55 county councillors should have €30,000 to spend in their district, Independent Councillor Danny Collins.

The West Cork councillor said the 5% increase in Local Property Tax (LPT) that was approved by councillors in recent weeks should be used to fund the allocations.

He said the funds would be an "effective" method of achieving results "on the ground" and the “best money spent in the budget.”

The councillor suggested that €1.65m is distributed between the 55 councillors so that they can deal with complaints they receive on a daily basis from constituents.

 Cllr Collins: "Hardly a day passes when you don’t have someone coming up to you looking for road repairs or calling for project undertaking, maintenance for playgrounds, footpaths, the list goes on." Picture Dan Linehan

Cllr Collins: "Hardly a day passes when you don’t have someone coming up to you looking for road repairs or calling for project undertaking, maintenance for playgrounds, footpaths, the list goes on." Picture Dan Linehan

“Each councillor knows hardly a day passes when you don’t have someone coming up to you looking for road repairs or calling for project undertaking, maintenance for playgrounds, footpaths, the list goes on. Funding is always the problem.” 

The Independent Councillor said the council representatives are the people on the ground that know where the money is needed.

“I think we should be given this allocation as most of us here have the common sense… most of us.” 

Mr Collins said that he thought that the councillors expenditure should then be made public in order to make sure the money is being spent correctly.

Independent Councillor Ben Dalton O’Sullivan fully supported the proposal and said he thought it was a great idea.

Despite this, there was some opposition from the floor, especially from Fine Gael Councillor Susan McCarthy who said that the €1.65m would be more than the 5% LPT increase, which was badly needed.

“From someone who didn’t even support the increase I find it absolutely outrageous, ludicrous. I find it laughable.” 

Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Hayes said he wondered if there would be issues with transparency.

“Hypothetically if there was €1.65m floating around the place, I would prefer to see it going back into the municipal districts and see it allocated through grant schemes and projects where there is a proper marking scheme that people apply to.

“I think we would be absolutely plagued by people from groups and organisations if they knew we were allocating a certain amount of money, I do think it would be better to see an increase in funding through the municipal district.” 

Fianna Fáil Councillor Joe Carroll agreed with Mr Hayes. “I admire what you are doing but I wouldn’t like to have people knocking on my door day and night.” Mr Collins said there were a number of other councils across the country, including Cork City Council that are allocated funding to spend at their discretion.

County Mayor Christopher O’Sullivan said that it was a budget issue and there was nothing stopping Mr Collins from bringing it up at when deciding on the County Budget.