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....

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.”...

FF are wrong to Oppose the Privatisation of Dublin Bus Routes.

The role of a party in opposition is not just to oppose, it’s to offer the voters an alternative. Yes, there is a part to be played as a watchdog, to scrutinise the government’s actions, to keep it on it’s toes… and it’s ok to score a few points from time to time. Why then am I getting the sense that we in Fianna Fáil are opposed to the privatisation of Dublin Bus routes for no other reason than the current government is in favour. Fianna Fáil, when in power, has never shied away from privatising a state company when the conditions have been right to do so and there has been a benefit to Irish people. Privatisations in the past have brought much needed investment into tired state companies, the private sector rationalisation of bloated semi states has delivered the essential modernisation that has enabled former state companies to not only compete but also to thrive. The world is changing and the need for the government to be directly involved in certain sectors and businesses is diminishing. As our society and economy move forward there is an onus on the powers that be to take stock from time to time and to consider what areas of the economy require direct government involvement and what areas no longer do so. Whatever the case for privatising Irish Water’s operating company, it is clear that we do not privatise the water infrastructure because this is a strategic asset and must remain under the secure control of government. On a daily basis hundreds of thousands of people in the nation’s capital city...

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...

What is the Purpose of the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI)?

I welcome any initiative that encourages a flow of credit to small and medium sized enterprises in this country. In this regard I very much welcome the establishment of the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI). At the same time I am concerned as to how effective this is likely to prove to be. The SBCI will initially make €800 Million available to Irish banks (and other TBD lenders) for onward lending to Irish SME’s. This fund has the potential to grow to €4Bn in time. The problem is that in September the European Central Bank offered Irish banks €8Bn which was partially intended for providing cheap credit to Irish SME’s. The Irish Bank’s largely rejected this funding, despite the fact that at 0.15% it is likely to be significantly cheaper than anything the SBCI can offer. Evidently the problem is not that Irish banks cannot access cheap liquidity. So what is the purpose of the SBCI?...