The Leader of the Fianna Fáil Group on Dublin City Council, Cllr Paul McAuliffe has accused Sinn Féin “of betraying those voters that supported them in May’s local election. The Sinn Fein budget presented to the Council and supported by the Labour Party & the Greens provided a rate cut that will only support big businesses rather than providing €1.7 Million toward the Disabled Persons Grants programme operated by the City,’ said McAuliffe.
“Councillors in the city and Sinn Féin in particular faced a choice in this budget, a choice between supporting big business and supporting those people with disabilities who need assistance. It is clear that Sinn Féin seem prepared to sacrifice the moral need to help these people in the interests of preserving its political deal to secure the Mayoralty for 2016,” said Councillor McAuliffe.
The Fianna Fail Group proposed an amendment to the City Manager’s Budget to make the budget fairer for the citizens of Dublin for 2015.
Councillor Paul McAuliffe said: “In our amendment Fianna Fáil stood by our core values of creating opportunity, supporting small businesses, stimulating economic activity, celebrating our national heritage and protecting those most in need. Sinn Féin, Labour and the Greens have missed an opportunity to increase funding for the disabled persons’ grant which has a life changing impact on those who benefit from it. The grants allow people stay in their home longer and in more comfort. The scheme acts as a stimulus and helps generate jobs and economic activity. Applications for the scheme are always under severe pressure and with the economy improving it is likely that more people will have matching funds which will further increase pressure on the existing allocation.
Defending their decision not to support a €1.7Million cut in commercial rates, Councillor McAuliffe said: “A 0.5% reduction in commercial rates as proposed by Sinn Fein is of little benefit to small and medium businesses. A mere €40 for the €8,000 average rates bill. In fact 77% of rate payers in the City will only benefit by no more than €50. This is a rate cut that will only benefit big business.
“We believe the striking of a single rate for all business sizes and types across the City is a blunt instrument that will always favour large business over those smaller traders. To that end Fianna Fáil will soon be introducing legislation in the Oireachtas to reform the outdated model of commercial rates collection.
Fianna Fail also proposed:
- €700,000 increase in the Street Cleaning budget a response to the massive dissatisfaction with the current schedule of street cleaning.
- €500,000 towards the celebration of the centenary of 1916 in light of the government’s failure to appropriate fund the 1916 celebrations
- €500,000 towards a new pilot scheme of grants for those over 65 towards the cost of fitting home alarms.