Councillor Morgan claims to have received a commitment from the County Manager, Conn Murray, that the council staff would not be used to act as debt-collectors for the controversial household charge tax.
and under questioning from other Councillors, the Manager declared “no Council staff, either junior or senior, will be asked to act as debt-collectors for the household charge. However, I would urge people to pay the charge, because the Council cannot provide services without the money to pay for them”.
Councillor Morgan then raised the issue of whether our money, which he says is “being extorted” from “our hard-pressed householders and commercial ratepayers”, was being used wisely and prudently.
Cllr Morgan also tackled the council on the costs of a Judicial Review which saw some e173,000 to McCaughey Developments Ltd.
In a question which he put to the Town Clerk, Mr. Frank Pentony, he asked “How many household charges will it take, at e100 each, to pay the lawyers in the two judicial review hearings in the High Court, involving this Council and McCaughey Developments Ltd, which were heard before Mr. Justice Hanna and Mr. Justice Hedigan. Would it be 3,200 households?”
The Town Clerk’s reply was to the effect that the amount squandered on the McCaughey Developments Ltd –v – Dundalk Town Council Judicial Review proceedings debâcle was not as high as e320,000 (or 3,200 household charges) but only e173,000 (or about 1,750 household charges).
Mr. Conn Murray then stated that it was not accurate to say that 1,750 household charges would be used to defray the cost of the lawyers in the ill-fated McCaughey Developments Ltd – v – Dundalk Town Council legal proceedings, because the money to pay the lawyers would actually be obtained from several different sources, such as the central government subvention, the commercial rates, the parking meter charge, etc.