DONEGAL TD, Thomas Pringle, has said he has “no doubt” that the county is being punished for the high level of outspoken campaigns against the controversial Household Charge.
It has been claimed that counties whose TDs were outspoken opponents of the charge were the biggest losers in last week’s government cuts to local authority funding.
Donegal is the only local authority in the country, apart from Dublin City Council, to sustain a cut of more than €1 million.
Speaking to the Donegal News yesterday, Deputy Pringle said the budgets for roads, libraries and housing maintenance had been reduced in his county before the level of payment of the household charge had been taken into account.
He said the Government are using non-payment of the household charge as an excuse for making cuts to local authority funding that had been previously planned or implemented anyway.
Donegal County Council suffered the highest percentage cut in the country, with its quarterly grant of payment from the Government reduced by more than €1 million to €6.7 million as a result of a local shortfall in payment of the household charge.
Three of the county’s six TDs, Pearse Doherty, Padraig MacLochlainn and Thomas Pringle were all outspoken critics of the charge.
Payment of the charge is running below 50 per cent in Donegal, with recent figures showing it had been accounted for in respect of 31,729 out of an estimated 65,331 properties.
Deputy Pringle said he understood the budget for library services in Donegal had been cut by €600,000, money available for housing maintenance was down by €275,000 and the budget for roads was also significantly down.
He believed the Government was linking non-payment of the household charge to cuts already decided on. “This is typical of handling of the whole household tax issue,” he said. “The only satisfactory outcome is that funding already allocated be maintained.”