Tuesday, 1 March 1983
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Molloy, Mr. S. Walsh: and Mr. Fitzsimons asked the Minister for the Environment when an announcement will be made giving details of the proposed new local charges and increases in existing charges by which local authorities are to raise about £65 million in extra revenue.
Mr. Flynn: From the £65 million it is proposed to get by way of extra charges for services this year from local authorities, it is estimated that about £2 million will have to be collected from ratepayers in County Mayo. This would be in excess of the total amount received by rates on commercial properties and it would involve enormous charges. Is the Minister aware of the exact level of charges that the sums he speaks about would entail? Does he realise people will not be in a position to meet this kind of demand and what is he going to do to provide  extra money for local authorities to prevent them from going bankrupt?
Mr. Spring: The imposition of charges by me will be far less than those which would have been necessary if we had allowed the £97 million shortfall which I found in the Estimates for my Department. The new estimate of £65 million is far less than that and the charges will, obviously, be reduced accordingly.
Mr. Flynn: It is about time that the Minister and the Government got away from the gambit of blaming everything that might have to be done in 1983 on what was proposed for 1982. They are the Government now. It is time they lived up to their obligations and if they have a shortage of money it is up to them to provide for it and not be blaming previous Governments.
Mr. Spring: I am sure the Deputy will agree that the extra £31.5 million from the Department as opposed to the shortfall in the original estimates is no mean sum and will be of benefit to the local authorities in carrying out their obligations.
Mr. Flynn: Does the Minister realise that he has thrown an incendiary device into the local authorities which will blow up in his face at any moment? What does he propose doing about it and why is the Minister of State, Deputy Quinn, getting so hot and bothered?
Mr. Fitzsimons: The Minister stated earlier on that he would be meeting the County Managers' Association on Thursday next. Will the information in relation to the extra charges which the Minister will be advising them to impose in the various counties be available for county council meetings next Monday?
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