End of dis­cre­tionary fund­ing will be a ‘ret­ro­grade step’

The Corkman - - NEWS - MARIA HER­LIHY

DIS­CRE­TIONARY fund­ing, which has greatly eased Cork County Coun­cil’s fi­nan­cial headaches, es­pe­cially in times of se­vere weather, is on the way out from next year.

At the Kan­turk Mal­low mu­nic­i­pal meet­ing, Jim Moloney of Cork County coun­cil said that they had been al­lowed 25% dis­cre­tionary fund­ing but in re­cent years this has been re­duced to 20%. How­ever, he said due to the “up­turn in the econ­omy” they have been told that from next year they will not be al­lowed to utilise any dis­cre­tionary fund­ing but in­stead will have to dig into their own cof­fers.

Cllr Ger­ard Mur­phy (FG) warned that this would be a “ret­ro­grade step” and a “step too far”.

“I re­ally feel that the dis­cre­tionary fund should be in­creased and not be ended. It is lo­cal en­gi­neers who have the knowl­ege of the area. While the gen­eral pub­lic will ac­cept that more money is be­ing spent on na­tional roads, such as Bal­ly­mac­quirke, it is the re­gional roads that need the most look­ing af­ter. That re­ally is im­per­a­tive,” he said.

For ex­am­ple, with dis­cre­tionary fund­ing roads which may re­quire work such as patch­ing, it means that CCC can use dis- cre­tionary grants and not put a dent in their bud­get.

Mr Moloney said over the last two years, when the weather was par­tic­u­larly harsh, they could use their own re­sources but can sup­ple­ment it by way of the dis­cre­tionary grant which proved to be “ideal.”

“But it now seems that for next year we will only use our own money,” he said.

Cllr Mur­phy pointed out that Cork was “unique” when it came to dis­cre­tionary fund­ing com­pared to other re­gions and it was im­per­a­tive that it should re­main so.

“In fact, I am propos­ing that we should seek an in­crease in dis­cre­tionary fund­ing rather than the pro­posed de­crease,” he said. Coun­cil­lors John Paul O’Shea (FG), Cllr Timmy Collins (Ind) and chair­man of the meet­ing Cllr Gearoid Mur­phy (FG) were all in agree­ment at this course of pro­posed ac­tion.

Cllr Ger­ard Mur­phy (FG) said it would be a “ret­ro­grade step” to end dis­cre­tionary fund­ing.

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