Dublin may not be able to cope with cuts

Dublin City Council may not be able to cope with water shortages if last winter’s poor weather is repeated because of cuts to the council’s budget, a councillor has warned.

Labour’s Aodhán Ó Ríordáin was reacting to news that the council’s funding from the Government next year will be cut by €9 million.

“Water supply has been stripped to the bone and if there was a major water shortage like we had last winter, we’d be right down to core staff. You’re praying when it comes to weather conditions because we can’t guarantee that we’d be able to prevent a situation as quickly as we’d usually be able to be,” he said.

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

The council’s budget for 2011 will be cut by €25 million and this will affect most of the council’s services. Funding for parks, libraries, street cleaning and the fire service will be cut and Cllr Ó Ríordáin says morale among council staff has dropped.

“It’s a problem that affects staff in here trying to work with less resources. We had an exemplary example at the weekend of how Gardaí, the fire service and council staff can work together when they have the resources, even though thankfully it wasn’t required in the end.

“These are essential services for Dublin City Council to provide, but they’ll suffer because of the short-sightedness of central government. If you take €9 million away, that’s what it adds up to.”

Cllr Ó Ríordáin hit back at suggestions that central government simply hasn’t the money to prevent a cut in local government funding. He claimed the cut means they can’t reduce rates significantly for businesses and, in Dublin’s case, the €9 million would pay off in the long-term.

“Commercial rates make up between 30 and 35 per cent of our income. We’re over-reliant on them so we can’t afford to reduce it substantially.

“We have to invest in order to create jobs and employment so that we can protect business. The 450,000 who are unemployed are the biggest drain on the economy at the moment, we need to reduce that to fix the economy.”

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