SLIGO County Council want to meet with Environment Minster Alan Kelly to ask him for a bailout.
Minister Kelly gave the Council an ultimatum in November to sort out their financial situation or else suffer abolishment.
Independent Cllr Declan Bree proposed a motion at Monday’s meeting for a deputation to meet with Minster Kelly in the hopes of securing financial aid from central government.
“This council appeals to the new Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government to provide Sligo County Council with the necessary financial assistance (bailout) to allow the Council to return to financial sustainability; and further the Council again requests the Minister to meet a deputation from the Council,” Cll Bree said.
Cllr Bree highlighted the fact that the current council were dealing with financial legacy issues of previous councils and to turn this against the current council would not be fair.
“Given our financial position it is clear that this Council is in no position to create surpluses of a million euro a year. It is also clear that the new council elected in May is not responsible for previous budgets, loans, borrowing and overdrafts. In this context it is unfair for the Minister or his department to threaten us,” Cllr Bree commented. Cllr Bree highlighted the need for further assistance in the form of a bailout. His point was also supported by Fianna Fail’s Tom MacSharry.
“We have shown central government that we can make honest decisions. I agree with Cllr Bree that we should receive some form of help or bailout from central government,” Cllr MacSharry said.
Cllr Hubert Keaney of Fine Gael also supported the motion to send a deputation to meet the Minister, however he warned the council to have a clear plan.
“Councillors come in here and make no comment on the budget and then ask for a bailout. You are not going to get a bailout unless you act responsibly. For us to secure the future of Sligo County Council we have to come up with solutions. We can’t always expect that if there is a shortfall that it will be matched by central government,” he said.
“I support the motion (of sending a deputation) and what it stands for, but you are not going to get any minister to listen until you have a coherent economic plan,” Cllr Keaney added.
There is a full report on the Council meeting and the issues raised in this week’s Sligo Weekender- out now.