Councillors have clashed over a decision to bring the northern end of the county into line with the south in relation to housing adaptation grants.
North Tipperary County Council had kept its application list open year-round while South Tipperary only opened it for a limited period.
When it was suggested at the September meeting to adopt the south’s system, there were claims that this was “an attack on North Tipperary. Why aren’t we doing in in reverse? Why can’t South Tipperary’s scheme stay open all year?” asked Cllr Jim Ryan. “This is a backward step.”
Cllr Michael Smith said that “just because it happens in South Tipperary doesn’t make it right”. He urged that the council go to the Department of the Environment to seek extra funding.
Cllr Micheal Lowry warned that the scheme would now be a lottery as people waited to see if their names were pulled out of the hat.
“Just because it was open all year round didn’t mean it was used all year round,” said Cllr Seamus Hanafin. “It should be kept open”.
Cllr Hughie McGrath said it was a “no-brainer” to keep it open as it meant small contractors would have work all year round
Cllr Michael O’Meara believed the councillors would be abdicating their responsibility if they closed the scheme.
However, Cllr Siobhan Ambrose said the south had to accept practices that were in the north only. “There has to be give and take,” she said, pointing out the money was not there to keep it open all year.
She was supported by Cllr Martin Lonergan and Cllr Tom Woods, who said South Tipperary County Council had closed the scheme because they didn’t want to give people false expectations.
“It was pointless taking applications when the money was not there,” he said.
Director of operations Ger Walsh said the reason for the closure was because the council could not get to through the amount of applications it received.
“There was a national review which suggested it was better to have an opening and closing date. It hasn’t reduced the amount of work carried out or grants issued during the year. The focus should be to spend the money we have,” he said.
Mr Walsh told the meeting that while the scheme in North Tipperary had been working well, “South Tipperary was more efficient”.