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How does your local council spend its money?

A new website gives a breakdown of how much each local authority in Ireland gets and where the money goes.

Councils are quick to deny wasting funds (Sorry)
Councils are quick to deny wasting funds (Sorry)

LAST WEEK SAW more than 900 councillors elected to 31 city and county councils across Ireland. One of their main tasks will be to plan how taxpayers’ money is spent.

A recently-launched Public Policy website looks at how much local authorities plan to spend this year – and what on.

Budgets vary nationwide, in line with population figures.

For example, based on the 2011 Census, Dublin City has a population of almost 530,000. Its council has an annual budget of €805.7 million or €1,527 for every person living there.

Leitrim is the least populated county in Ireland, with just under 32,000 inhabitants. Its local council has a budget of €34.1 million or €1,071 per person.

The money spent by local authorities falls into seven main categories.

council finance box crop

Housing and litter

Dublin City Council spends most of its budget – €204.3m (25.36 per cent) – on local authority and Traveller housing. This works out at €387.21 per person, compared with the national average of €160.93 per person.

dublin city housing 1 Part of Dublin City Council's housing budget Source: Local Authority Finances

The next biggest chunk of funding is allocated for environmental services, with some €179.73m (22.3 per cent) being spent on waste and litter management, water quality and fire services.

In contrast, Leitrim County Council spends €3.92m (11.5 per cent of its budget) on housing and €3.75m (11.02 per cent) on environmental services. Its largest spend is on roads - €13.14m (38.59 per cent).

The remainder of Dublin City Council’s budget is spent as follows: €132.2m on water; €80.62m on planning, tourism and heritage; €78.57m on roads, public lights and parking; and €33.9m on tourism, heritage and property management.

Cork, Galway and Kerry

Per inhabitant, Cork City Council spends €359.88 on housing; €256.35 on environmental services and €213.17 on roads.

cork city housing 1 Part of Cork City Council's housing budget Source: Local Authority Finances

Galway City Council spends €226.93 per person on housing; €212.42 on roads and €128.18 on environmental services.

galway roads Part of Galway City Council's road budget Source: Local Authority Finances

Kerry County Council spends €193.55 per inhabitant on roads; €108.91 on housing and €93.53 on environmental services.

kerry environ Part of Kerry County Council's environmental services budget Source: Local Authority Finances

Want to know how your local council compares? Click here to find out.

Read: Who is your new local councillor? Here’s a list of everyone elected so far

Related: What does a county councillor actually do?

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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