Independent Dublin city councillor Mannix Flynn has accused the city council of not having a backbone and said city manager Owen Keegan is “subservient” to the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy.
He was responding to a report that Dubliners are to face increased parking charges, tolls, social housing rents and commercial rates next year because of a failure to adequately fund the city.
The council will experience increased costs and large losses, including the loss of rates income of €8.4m on Irish Water-owned properties, and will not be compensated by central government despite prior assurances to the contrary, Mr Keegan told.
As a result, councillors will be asked on Monday to pass a budget for the city which includes a 36 per cent increase in the East Link toll, average social housing rent increases of €160 a year, a rise in business rates of 1.5% and the second hike in on-street parking charges in a year following a decade without increases.
Cllr Flynn toldthat “it is time to wake up.
If we want a vibrant city we have to have a budget. We can’t manage if we don’t have budgets.
Dublin City Council needs to approach central government “and get the money up front.”
There is no leadership whatsoever in the local authority, he added. “The system is not fit for purpose.”
It was simply not good enough that the council was planning to “up charges”, said Cllr Flynn.
He also questioned some of the projects planned by the city council such as white water rafting on the River Liffey and a new central library in the Parnell Quarter at a time “when everything is falling apart.”
Central government is hostile to the city, he said. Cllr Flynn also called for the East Link toll bridge to be free for motorists. “It already paid for itself many times. Dublin City Council grabbed it as a cash cow.”
The council was yet again “on the back foot” and he warned “next year it will be the same thing, more and more charges.”
Cllr Flynn said more and more money is being spent on fantasy while the reality was “we don’t do responsibility.”