Athenry-Oranmore councillors have voted by four to one to reject the proposed 2019 budget for the Athenry-Oranmore Municipal District, saying the area’s property tax and commercial rates are being used to “subsidise the rest of the county”.
Independent councillor James Charity proposed the motion to reject the budget, on the basis that a system was being adopted which saw only nine per cent of the county budget allocated to an area with one of the highest populations in the county, and which is consistently showing major growth. The proposal was supported by councillors Gabe Cronnelly, Jim Cuddy, and Martina Kinnane, with Cllr Frank Kearney opposing.
“We have a system where 32 councillors representing other areas continue to adopt a policy which shares 91 per cent of the budget between their areas,” said Cllr Charity, “while Athenry-Oranmore is being targeted for the large property tax and commercial rates contributions it makes, in order to subsidise the rest of the county.”
Cllr Charity also cited a deteriorating road system due to “huge volumes of traffic commuting to Galway city” and “no funding to repair it”; high levels of traffic congestion; rat running on local roads; and subsequent road safety issues.
A separate motion was then proposed by Cllr Charity, which received unanimous support, calling on both the Minister for Local Government and the Minister for Electoral and Local Government Reform to meet with the Athenry-Oranmore councillors to discuss adequate funding and the funding mechanisms for municipal areas generally.
The Athenry-Oranmore ward encompasses Killoughter, Annaghdown, Corrandulla, Claregalway, Turloughmore, Carnmore, Oranmore, Clarinbridge and Athenry.