In a statement to this weeks Tipperary Star Sinn Fein Cllr David Doran has outlined why he could not support Thurles Town Councils Budget for 2014 and his disappointment with his fellow members for signing off on a budget which includes €5,000 for members conferences.
“At our recent Budget meeting I complimented our Town Clerk for formulating what I considered a fair enough Budget considering the limited amount of funding available and that services were been maintained while there was no increase to the commercial rate, housing rents and parking charges etc, -issues which I had campaigned for,along with maintaining the same levels of grants to be allocated towards our sporting clubs and residents associations and providing for all other essential services.
I had proposed two amendments to the budget. Firstly that provision be made for free parking in the car parks all day on Saturday’s as opposed to the current three hour free parking from 9-12 and that the shortfall be made up by eliminating the payment for use of the Munster Hotel car park.
I made this proposal because I believe our town needs some kind of stimulus to boost the local economy which might help in some small way to increase footfall in our local businesses and in turn prevent a business or two from closing thus saving the council in commercial rate revenue and in turn saving jobs.
This proposal was supported by my colleagues Cllrs Jim Ryan and Noel o Dwyer but was opposed by the rest of the Cllrs and quite loudly by Cllr Michael Clery who made the charge that this was back of the envelope and funny economics and a laughable proposal that didn’t make sense , the same man who last year not only opposed the introduction of the 3 hours free parking in our carparks on Saturdays but used his casting vote as Mayor to do so, only to turn around a few months later and propose the same by way of a Notice of Motion. Go figure!
My second ammendment was not to include the €5000 for members conference expenses and instead put this money towards our local community, sports and residents associations fund. These clubs and organisations are the backbone of our town and this extra €5000 would be so much appreciated and put to good use by such groups -this ammendment was also strenuously opposed.
The inclusion of money for conferences as a slush fund for members to attend such junkets all over Ireland each year at the expense of the tax payers of Thurles has always been at odds with my view of public representation even during the economic boom .I have never agreed with, or partaken in, such excursions and indeed along with my colleagues Cllrs Ryan and O’Dwyer have successfully campaigned to get the amount allocated reduced which was nearly as much as €30,000 per annum at one stage. I firmly believe that even €5,000 for the remaining 5 months of our council term which my colleagues voted for was disgraceful and I could not support it.
In my view what#s ‘funny economics’, ‘back of the envelope’ or call it what you like, is members prepared to support a Budget with monies included for such expenses when services nationally are been cut left, right and centre and people are on their knees trying to make ends meet. It’s a serious lack of empathy if nothing else.
Politics is about choices and I believe I made the correct one by not supporting this budget, I wonder can Cllr Cleary and his colleagues look the people of Thurles in the face and say the same.”