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01 Dec 2021

Controversial council vote to change allocation of municipal district funding fails at budget meeting

The proposal would have seen money taken from Ardee and given to Dundalk and Drogheda

Louth County Council own enough land to build 1700 houses

Louth County Council

Louth County Councillors have voted overwhelmingly against a proposal to change how municipal allocations are awarded to the three districts after Dundalk Municipal District rejected their allocation last month.

Green Party Councillor Marianne Butler put forward a proposal during the 2022 Budget meeting on Monday, November 15th, which would see the €225,000 split into uneven chunks based on the number of councillors within each district.

Currently, the €225,000 is split evenly between the districts of Dundalk, Drogheda and Ardee, with each district receiving €75,000.

However, Cllr Butler proposed that the money be split according to population, which would mean Dundalk would receive a bigger share of the funding.

Based on Cllr Butlers proposal, each district would receive a minimum of €30,000, with the remaining funds to be distributed by population. 

Dundalk were proposed to receive €90,517, Ardee with €57,931 and Drogheda with €76,551.

Cllr Butler said that the proposal would ensure that the funding is spread more evenly, citing that Ardee has a population of 25,000 compared to the Dundalk area’s 55,000. 

The councillor told the meeting that the revised plans would see €2.24 per head being spent in Ardee, €1.56 per head in Dundalk and €1.68 per head in Drogheda.

The motion was seconded by Fianna Fáil Cllr Conor Keelan

Fine Gael’s Cllr John Reilly backed the proposal, saying that it was the fairest to split it by population, citing that areas of the Dundalk district don’t have services that are up to standard that would benefit from the extra funding.

Independent Cllr Kevin Callan objected to the proposal, saying that the allocations work on the fact that all districts are treated equally.

Fianna Fáil’s Cllr John Sheridan, who represents the Ardee Municipal District said that the combined voting power of Drogheda and Dundalk could take the money off of Ardee, but that it wouldn’t be right.

Speaking during the meeting, Cllr Sheridan compared it to bigger kids in a schoolyard taking the money off the younger kids.

“If the big kids want to take the lunch money of the small kids, they can, but it will leave a sour taste in the mouth,” said Cllr Sheridan.

Councillors took a vote on Cllr Callan’s proposal to keep the scheme as it currently is and divide funds equally among the districts.

The proposal was passed easily, with 19 councillors voting in favour while six voted against it. There were two abstentions. 

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