All the Fianna Fail members of Cork County Council voted against their new budget at the special meeting before Christmas but Cllr Frank O’Flynn was at pains to point out that his opposition stemmed from deep seated concern over certain aspects of it, rather than being a mere opposition party policy.
The slash in the housing maintenance grant budget was his chief reason, he said with €535,000 lopped off their budget for next year. “At a time when the council is not building or buying houses, that money would go a long way towards repairs, renovations and other works to existing housing stock,” he insisted. There was a separate vote on the meeting on that particular issue.
He was critical too of the fact that there was no reduction in commercial rates.
“Limerick city reduced theirs by 16%” he pointed out. “The manager could have done something to help SMES, we must give an incentive to small and family businesses,” he said, adding that nothing was done to encourage businesses to set up in the many vacant shops in towns and villages around the county.
He did welcome the fact that the amenity grant hadn’t been cut.
The Glanworth-based councillor was back to being critical though on the issue of property tax, and the fact that the income generated by it is going to fund the new Irish Water body until it’s up and running and generating income of its own.
He singled out Minister Phil Hogan for special criticism for their budget meeting having to be held so late – saying they hadn’t learned of their budget allocation until 56 days after the national budget.