€6.5M OWED IN UNPAID LEVIES
LOUTH county council is owed €6.5 million in unpaid levies from developers, it emerges at a meeting of the local authority.
Cllr Tomás Sharkey says he is sympathetic to those who owe money, and the overall amount of €6,452,924 at the end of November is an illustration of how many people are facing financial difficulties.
Senior executive officer, Joan Martin notes a surprising amount of the money owed is from one-off houses.
Ms. Martin adds the figure in question is on developments under construction as opposed to those for which permission is granted but construction has not commenced.
She explains that where development levies remain outstanding from one year to the next, the amount due is in line with the wholesale price index for the construction industry.
Unpaid levies are deemed a breach of the conditions of planning permission, and are vigorously followed up as planning enforcement cases under the Planning and Development Act 2000. FINE Gael leader John Bruton moots developing Dundalk into a city and should it come about there would be significant benefits for the area.
He points out Dundalk fits the bill for city designation and adds that his party in its recently published discussion document on housing argues that the government should decide that it will develop at least three existing medium-sized towns into cities to relieve the pressure on Dublin.
‘We believe the government should invite local authorities to bid for city designation, on the basis of receiving substantial infrastructural, industrial development and decentralisation benefits.
‘I think one of these three new cities, with local support, could be Dundalk.’
Mr Bruton adds the continued growth of the Dublin region is unsustainable and if there is a serious intention to stop the urban sprawl it is essential that special emphasis be put on development within smaller population centres like Dundalk.
The main opposition party leader, in the Ballymascanlon Hotel, urges the chamber of commerce to consider leading a study of this idea as Dundalk has excellent rail links, is equidistant from the two major cities on the island.
Retiring principal Mary O’Rourke with pupils who made presentations to her at the retirement presentation function held in the Friary Infants National School in December 2003.