Frustration over funding for roads and housing

THE need for more funding specifically for roads and housing maintenance in the Letterkenny and Milford Municipal District was voiced by councillors at their annual budget meeting this week.

Councillors argued that a special case needs to be put forward for more funding for roads in Letterkenny given the huge volume of traffic in the town on a daily basis.

Head of Finance, Richard Gibson, spoke about the challenges facing the local authority in the year ahead in terms of inflation and rising costs.


The Council is set to receive a share of a €60 million fund from central government to assist with the rising energy costs.

Mr Gibson said this allocation will not cover everything but it will help bridge the gap to offset the increase in energy bills in 2023.

Similar to previous years councillors expressed their anger at having to pass a budget for the Municipal District without having a full picture of what funding is being allocated to each section.

The only figure that was definite was the €200,000 from the Development Fund Initiative (DFI) – a figure of €20,000 per elected member of the Letterkenny-Milford Municipal District.

Further details of the MD’s budget will not be known until after the Council’s full budget is published next month.

Cllr Gerry McMonagle described this situation as “putting the cart before the horse” while Cllr Michael McBride said the budget meeting was a “box ticking exercise”.

Cllr Donal Coyle said they were just there to “rubber stamp” the DFI funding which he said is very important for organisations in the community that do great work.


“We are asked to agree on a budget but we don’t know what budget we are going to get,” added Cllr Liam Blaney.
Cllr Ian McGarvey said the councillors are ‘caught in a trap’ and that the needs of the county are not being recognised.

He said they need to look at Donegal’s funding allocations in comparison to the rest of the country as he feels they are not getting what they deserve.

Questions were raised about the resources in place to deal with the social housing stock and the need for more manpower.

Cllr McMonagle said the housing section does not have the adequate funds to maintain the housing stock which is ageing.

“We need to be able to react to the problems arising instead of allowing them to fester and become a bigger problem,” he said.

Cllr McBride agreed and said it was taking far too long to turn over houses because there is not enough staff on the ground.

Staffing issues within the corporate services section were raised by Cllr Ciaran Brogan who questioned what the Council is doing to replace vacancies.

He said the Municipal District has 1,600 social housing units and do not have adequate resources at the “coalface to turn them around”.

There was also anger over how long applications for disability and elderly grants are taking to be dealt with.

The executive acknowledged that there has been staffing issues in the corporate services section and that four posts need to be filled – two clerical officers and two assistant staff officers.

Reassurances were given that a clerical panel is now in place and active to fill the vacancies in the coming months.

Cllr Brogan said there had been vacancies for awhile and that a clear message needs to go to HR that this is not good enough and needs to be looked at.

The councillors were told that another clerical worker is being brought on board to work on grants and that additional funding for housing maintenance in Letterkenny would be looked at.

“Things are tight in Donegal and we do our best with every cent we have. We are constantly asking for higher allocations and making special cases,” said Mr Gibson.

The budget was passed after it was proposed by Cllr Coyle.

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