Council Budget 2017

I was proud to play my part on the team that negotiated the 2017 budget for the County.  We have delivered a budget that will provide for a €5m increase in services while maintaining the reduction of the maximum 15% allowable to the basic rate of Local Property Tax. To encourage local employment and small business growth we introduced a new SME Support Grant which will see a benefit, equivalent to a 2.5% reduction in rates, for 72% of businesses (3,800 SMEs). In addition to this, a €300k provision has been made for business promotion grants, shop front improvement grants, vacant shop grants, retail development and Springboard....

Transfer of Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company to the Council

Following the recent publication of a due diligence report into Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company, prior to its proposed transfer to Council ownership, I voiced significant concern at the prospect that that residents throughout the county will be financially burdened with any legacy financial commitments the company may have  … “Fianna Fáil councillor Shay Brennan said taking over the harbour company could see its debts transferred to ‘every household between Dún Laoghaire and Dundrum’” – Irish Times 9/1/16. I welcome the prospect of the harbour coming under the control of the Council. I would, however, strongly call on the Minister of Transport to ensure that the state indemnifies the County and its citizens against any outstanding financial obligations of the company.  ...

Does Anybody Want a More Efficient Council?

Next Monday’s scheduled meeting of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council has several important pieces of business on the agenda. In addition to the normal Councillor submitted motions, we will have the opportunity to discuss our ABP submission on the proposed €18,000,000 plan to develop cruise liner facilities in the harbour. It also falls to us to determine if we will once again vary the Local Property Tax rate, a move that last year gave over €8,000,000 back to the residents of the county. Judging, however, by the media activity (both real and social) of some of my Councillor colleagues, it would appear that nothing is currently more important than a row about the procedural workings of a sub-committee of a local authority! Since being elected to the council in May of last year, I have regularly been asked by people how I am finding life as a Councillor. It is very hard for me to give any answer that doesn’t contain the phrase ‘slow and frustrating’. Don’t get me wrong, working in and for my local community is a very energising and rewarding experience. The problems unfortunately begin when we attempt to conduct business at our monthly council meeting. At these meeting, we have the opportunity to exercise what little power that remains vested in Local Authority members and deal efficiently and expediently with business for the benefit of those that elected us…. But we don’t! …Instead the webcast cameras are rolling, the press are in the gallery and we feel the need to grandstand, to score some political points and to ‘echo’ what was just said by our five, six or seven electoral ward colleagues lest their newsletter reads better...

Council Motion Supporting Privatisation Of Dublin Bus Routes.

I have been clear about the reasons behind my opinion that FF are wrong to oppose the privatisation of Dublin Bus routes. My position is contrary to ‘current‘ FF policy on this issue, however as an elected public representative I have just submitted the following motion for discussion at the next meeting of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council which takes place on 11th May: “That in the interests of more efficient usage of tax payers money and improved transport services for the commuters of the county, this council supports the Government in it’s tendering of a portion of Dublin Bus routes to private operators, and calls on the Government to ensure that this is done through a competitive, transparent and regulated process.”...

Irish Water Needs Professional Help

At tomorrow night’s meeting of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council I will support a motion put forward by the Green Party to call for referendum to constitutionally prohibit the privatisation of Irish Water. The Irish Water issue has exercised most of the population and it is only right that the Irish people get to have some say on at least one aspect of the future of this entity. It is for this reason that I actively support the call to hold a referendum. If and when it comes to a referendum however I will not rush to support the notion that the constitution is altered in such a way as limit some beneficial opportunities that may arise. I am considering one in particular, where the corporate management of Irish Water is replaced with a private operator, I outline this in more detail below. Firstly, to be completely clear: Do I believe that Irish Water should be fully privatised? Absolutely not. One of the few things more dangerous than a public monopoly is a private monopoly. But I do believe that certain elements of this new entity that is Irish Water would benefit from the private sector treatment. The key argument against privatising any company is that out of public ownership that company is naturally motivated to maximise it’s profits, often this comes in the form increased efficiencies and investment in innovation, however often it comes in the form of higher customer prices, particularly if that company is in a monopoly situation. Even as a state owned company however Irish Water is already contributing to the profits of many others, the design company that charged...

Updated: Council Motion to Target Rates Reduction and Create 113 Jobs

Council Meeting 8th September: Motion on the agenda but no time at the meeting so deferred to the October meeting. Council Meeting 13th October: As we are so close to the budget it was agreed to take this motion directly to the Council’s Corporate Policy Group who will determine if and where it can be accommodated into the budget. People Before Profit tabled an amendment to the motion to cap the amount at a rateable value of EUR 60,000 and exclude businesses that are undergoing an industrial dispute. I can live with the latter but I would prefer to include a higher rateable amount. Amendment is also going to Corporate Policy Group along with the original motion. Budget Meeting 4th November: The cross party Corporate Policy Group opted to recommend a blanket 2.5% cut in commercial rates to go forward to the Council budget meeting for adaption, this means that my motion did not make it to the budget meeting. Obviously disappointed! I think we missed an opportunity to encourage enterprise, create jobs and better our county, I am determined to keep at this one……   Originally Posted 20th August: I recently put forward the following rates reduction motion to DLR Co. Council: Motion: “That this Council considers the establishment of a Commercial Rates Relief Fund equivalent to 2% of the 2014 Rates collection, and that this fund is used to pay the 2014 Rates bill of successful applicant businesses qualifying on the following criteria:  Receipt of assistance ensures that at least one full time job is either created or saved AND The qualifying business is either a start up or an existing business that...