The Galway City Council’s 2015 budget “ignores the most serious social problem affecting the city and disregards the plight of people in our city who have nowhere to sleep on a nightly basis.”
Fianna Fáil Galway City Central councillor Ollie Crowe has slammed the budget, which was agreed at Monday’s council meeting, which saw no increase in funds towards tackling homelessness.
The budget was agreed unanimously with the exception of the Fianna Fáil councillors Ollie Crowe, Michael J Crowe, and Peter Keane, who had proposed an alternative budget which included a proposal for €200,000 being ring-fenced for the joint purchase of a suitable property with a voluntary housing body to provide temporary accommodation to the homeless.
“This would have been a two year project with the same amount of funds allocated in the 2016 budget with the selected voluntary agency contributing an equal amount in financial and administrative resources,” said Cllr Crowe.
The budget meeting also saw €500,000 being allocated towards the city’s bid to become the 2020 European City of Culture. Although a supporter of the bid, which he said could bring “considerable benefit to Galway”, he said it was “impossible to justify how we can spend half a million euro on a bid for a title in six years while doing nothing more for those sleeping on our streets now”.
Cllr Crowe said Galway should have followed the lead of Dublin City Council which allocated one per cent of its total budget to tackle homelessness. He took aim at his fellow councillors who he said had failed to live up to their election promises.
“Almost all candidates said they would support a reduction in the local property tax yet the majority failed to do so when it was proposed,” he said. “Many councillors have spoken eloquent words about the homelessness crisis in our city but once more their deeds have failed to live up to such words.”