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Galway County Council rejects call for Local Property Tax increase

Galway County Councillors unanimously agreed to retain the Local Property Tax as its current rate for next year following the €5.7 million increase in baseline funding from the Government.

Chief Executive of Galway County Council Liam Conneally had pleaded for a 15% increase in the LPT rate, stating there would be a deficit of €8.5m at least if service levels were kept at the same level as this year. That would have given the Council an increase in income of €2.3m.

The baseline funding of €20.3m for next year until 2028 follows a Government review into how the LPT was distributed and many years of campaigning by local and national politicians that Galway was not receiving its fair share of funding from the tax collected.

Councillor Jimmy McClearn (FG) said it was not an appropriate time to add to the woes of those paying the tax in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis. He said if the Council was able to propose a specific project that required the additional funding, a hike in the rate would be considered in 12 months.

Fellow Fine Gael Cllr Andrew Reddington asked if the €5.7m increase would be in addition to an estimated €3m increase that retained firefighters would be entitled to following an agreement reached in the Workplace Relations Commission earlier this month. Otherwise, it was giving with one hand and taking away with the other.

Cllr Michael ‘Moegie’ Maher said councillors had lobbied their party colleagues hard to push for the LPT jump and he welcomed the “great figure” but added they would continue the fight for more funding.

Independent Cllr Declan Geraghty said it was a joke that councillors from government parties were “clapping themselves on the back” for the baseline hike.

“It’s a joke,” he fumed. “Coming up with €5m is no good. We should have at least got €10m.”

Sinn Féin’s Dermot Connolly estimated that the Council was shortchanged by at least €169m.

“In reality it’s a return of funds black to Galway held by the State.”

Mr Conneally pronounced that County Galway had turned a corner and was going in the right direction.  He would continue the work of former chief executives in pressing for more central funding and would seek the full recovery of retained firefighters’ pay jump.

“We’re making progress. We have a new work plan, I’m positive about the future, the latest instalment I’m hoping is one of many instalments in County Galway that will help us deliver our ambitions for County Galway.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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