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Sinn Fein councillors walk out of Dublin City Council meeting

Five councillors walked out after they said Lord Mayor Andrew Montague refused to take an emergency motion they submitted on the Household Charge.

File: Lord Mayor Andrew Montague
File: Lord Mayor Andrew Montague
Image: Leon Farrell//Photocall Ireland

FIVE SINN FÉIN councillors walked out of this evening’s meeting of Dublin City Council after the Lord Mayor Andrew Montague turned down an emergency motion from them on the Household Charge.

The councillors – Larry O’Toole, Mícheál Mac Donncha, Críona Ní Dhalaigh, Séamus McGrattan & Anthony Connaghan – submitted the emergency motion “in light of the failure of the Government to coerce a majority to pay the charge”, they said.

The wording of the motion was:

In light of the failure of Minister Phil Hogan to persuade, intimidate or coerce the majority of those whom he made liable to pay the Household Charge, Dublin City Council calls on the Government to immediately repeal the legislation providing for this unjust charge; we deplore the action of the Government in slashing funding for local government in Budget 2012 and then linking local authority funding directly to the inequitable and unworkable Household Charge thus plunging local administration into crisis and threatening services and jobs; we call on the Minister for Finance to introduce a supplementary Local Government budget to ensure that councils can maintain servicesand jobs at their current level in 2012; and we call for the development of a just and equitable system of funding local government.

Councillor Mícheál Mac Donncha commented:

Our emergency motion was submitted in the wake of the passing of the 31 March deadline by which the Government had failed to persuade, intimidate or coerce a majority to pay the Household Charge. By tying local government funding to the inequitable and uncollectable Household Charge, the Government has plunged funding for local councils into crisis.

He said it was “farcical that such a situation would not be considered an emergency” and that an emergency debate was ruled out by the Lord Mayor.

For this reason the Sinn Féin Councillors left the meeting to register our protest at the way in which local democracy is being attacked by the Fine Gael/Labour Government, supported by their party colleagues on Dublin City Council.

A number of other emergency motions on the houshold charge were also ruled out by the Lord Mayor.

Read: Government must ‘take stock’ of household charge situation – Shorthall>

Read: Dublin councillors to debate motion on abolition of Household Charge>

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