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Sparks fly as Fianna Fáil fail to defer Dublin City Council budget

A Fianna Fáil councillor accused Fine Gael and Labour of voting through a ‘half-baked budget’, while a Labour councillor said that some behaviour was a “publicity stunt”

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FIANNA FÁIL COUNCILLORS went head-to-head with their fellow members of Dublin City Council last night as they tried to defer the passing of the council budget.

Fianna Fáil councillor and group leader Mary Fitzpatrick accused Fine Gael and Labour councillors of being “patsies” and “pushing through a half-baked budget for Dublin city”, while in turn her behaviour was described afterwards as a “publicity stunt”

The Fianna Fáil motion to defer the passing of the draft budget for 2013 was rejected. Afterwards, Cllr Fitzpatrick said:

This is a stunning example of just how much Fine Gael and Labour councillors in Dublin City have become patsies to Phil Hogan’s agenda.  It makes no sense and flies in the face of good governance that the budget for Dublin City Council would be decided before the Government outlines key details affecting people’s daily lives in the city.

She added: “The Fine Gael and Labour members of the City Council have acted very foolishly and against the wishes of the people living in the city to formally back the property tax while the government still refuses to say how much it will cost citizens residents or how they will  attempt to collect it.”

Meanwhile, Labour Councillor Steve Wrenn told TheJournal.ie that Cllr Fitzpatrick’s behaviour on the night was “a publicity stunt”. He said that  he believed it was “strange” that Fianna Fáil had tried to prevent the budget from being passed, and that they “weren’t picking on any individual issue”.

“We all had our own issues about the budget and we put our own issues aside,” said Wrenn.

As part of the budget, the councillors agreed to cut commercial rates by 0.5 per cent. In the past four years, commercial rates have been reduced by 5 per cent in the Dublin City Council area. The news was welcomed by Dublin Chamber of Commerce.

There will be an increase in price of around 3.5 per cent for service users at the council-run leisure centres in Ballyfermot, Ballymun, Finglas, Markievicz and Swan Leisure in Rathmines. Tourism will be provided with a budget of €676k for marketing and promotion of the city and the funding of special events during the year of The Gathering.

Restructuring of the control room and the management grades in Dublin Fire Brigade will lead to savings of €2.5m, while the budget will provide for a contingency fund of €2 million for exceptional weather events and emergencies.

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