KILDARE’S Tidy Towns, libraries, cemeteries, street cleaning, playground works and disabled and elderly persons grants, among other services, are facing drastic cutbacks due to budget shortfalls associated with the controversial household charge.
That was the gloomy message outlined by senior county council managers last week as it attempted to withstand a €2.2m euro cut in funding from central government.
Kildare County Council has confirmed that as many as four different areas have already been identified for cost cutting measures this quarter amounting to 565,000 euros - Housing and Cultural Services, Transportation, Water and Environmental Services and Central Management.
Among the services affected include: the suspension of the mobility aid, housing adaptation and housing aids for older people grants; planned upgrades to existing playgrounds such as re-surfacing in Clane and new play facilities in Castlemitchell, Nurney, Rathangan, Riverbank have also been suspended.
Council bosses said residents across the county were now staring at “negative consequences” brought about by the fact some 40 per cent of households in Kildare had still not paid the 100 euro charge.
“This is a necessity. It’s not about fairness. I can’t spend money I haven’t got,” said County Manager Martin Malone at Fridays meeting. “We have to do more with less. I encourage people who can afford to pay, to pay.”
Mayor of Kildare Michael Nolan also appealed for people who can pay the charge to pay. “We have saved 565,000 euros today and next month we are looking at 1.7m euros, which will be a lot more difficult to deal with. Bearing that in mind, I would respectfully request people who can pay the household charge to pay asap.
“It’s a very sad day for this county and the people in this county,” he added, warning cutbacks to Fire and Emergency Services will be included in the next round of cutbacks next month. These are due to be discussed in the coming weeks.
- Lisa Deeney