Saturday, August 18, 2012

Economic Mismanagement & Austerity to Blame, Not Household Charge Deficit

Economic Mismanagement & Austerity to Blame, Not Household Charge Deficit – Sinn Fein Sinn Fein representatives in Cork have called on the Department of the Environment and the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) to enter into constructive dialogue with local authorities and to end the fostering of fear amongst the public regarding cuts to local services. Sinn Fein TD for Cork North-Central, Jonathan O’Brien, was particularly critical of Minster Phil Hogan saying: “It’s time for Minister Hogan to face up to the reality of the funding crisis now facing hundreds of local authorities throughout the country. He especially needs to stop being disingenuous about the root cause of the problem which is the mismanagement of the economy by the previous administration and the ill-considered austerity & bailout policies, of this government, that have stifled any prospect of growth and recovery. This is why central government has a shortfall and not as a result of the deficit in payments of the household charge. O’ Brien went on to say that the Minister’s use of sensationalist language and the financial penalisation of local councils will not contribute anything constructive in terms of a sustainable response: “It seems that the Minister would prefer to create a climate of fear amongst the public rather than offering a workable response strategy. While scaremongering, particularly threatening people with the turning off of street lights in local communities, is far beyond the pale. It is unacceptable for Phil Hogan to think he can bully the citizen’s of this state under any circumstances and even less so as a reaction to his own unfair, failed and mismanaged household charge.” Meanwhile, Cllr. Chris O’Leary, Sinn Fein’s leader on Cork City Council, has expressed his concerns that the approach is having a diluting affect on the functioning of local democracy. “I am calling on all city and county managers throughout the state to stand-up to this attempt to disenfranchise local government through the cutting and withholding of crucial funding. The approach adopted by Phil Hogan is one which absolutely ignores the mandate of elected local representatives and it will dilute our ability to advocate on behalf our constituents The Department of the Environment and the Local Government Management agency should now seek to communicate with councillors about the effect of the measures they are taking. So far this has not happened. Local government management has a responsibility to resist this punitive approach from central agencies and to avoid becoming mouthpieces and apologists for the disempowerment of communities. They will come under serious pressure but they have to remember that ordinary people did not create this mess.” For further comment please contact Jonathan O'Brien TD on 0860274142 or Cllr. Chris O'Leary on 0872794307

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