Government Asked To Help Local Authority With €8.4 Million Debt

Demands are being made of the government to ease the financial burden on Clare County Council.

The local authority has run a deficit of 8.4 million euro in the first half of this year, largely as a result of COVID-19.

It’s forecast significant losses as a result of the coronavirus, but only some of these have been covered to date.

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Clare County Council has already outlined how it anticipates losing nearly 27 million euro due to the pandemic mainly through a fall-off in income from commercial rates.

Nearly 20 million of this comes from a fall-off in rates income, but to date only 8 million of that has been covered.

The Council says it’s also expecting to lose out on 5.6 million euro in other income, and it’s forecasting additional costs of €1.5 million too – none of these costs have been covered.

This precarious financial position was cited by the Council itself and by local representatives in yesterday’s meeting that saw them vote in favour of retaining the elevated levels of property taxes in this county yesterday.

Lisdoonvarna-based Fine Gael Councillor Joe Garrihy says it’s needed to maintain local services.

The Department of Local Government says it recognises the additional costs incurred by Clare County Council, and has told Clare Fm that the Council can “be assured” it is representing the local government sector in the build-up to Budget 2021.

But with Councils all over Ireland in a similar situation, there will be a strong demand for any government resources that are made available.

Fianna Fail councillor Pat Hayes believes Clare’s reliance on tourism sites put this county in a particularly difficult position.

The Council says it is “critical” that it is fully compensated for all losses.

CEO Pat Dowling is to meet with the county’s Oireachtas members next week to lobby for their support.

He says the Council’s is fighting to get its share of any and all available funding.