'We have talked the talk . . . now it's time we walk the walk', Longford County Council Budget meeting hears

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Large sum of money found at bank ATM

Longford taxpayers can expect a €45m public expenditure bonanza next year.

'Progressive', 'far-sighted', 'pro-business' and an 'amazing turnaround' in Longford's financial well-being.

They were just some of the buoyant, and at times, pointed appraisals made on Monday as county councillors unanimously endorsed the passing of its 2019 Budget. 

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“This is indicative of where we have come since the foundation of this council,” opined an upbeat Cllr Gerry Warnock.

The Indepenent representative said the increased expenditure levels earmarked across almost every sector of the council's eight service divisions despite refraining from hiking commercial rates represented a “serious commitment” by its officials.

Fianna Fáíl's Seamus Butler said he and his fellow members could “hold our heads high” at the formulation of a budget which will see €45.2m being spent next year.

He also insisted the budgetary figures thrashed put in its 52 page document and which had been dubbed the 'Longford Model' due to the envious looks it was receiving from other council's, should be rebranded the 'McKeon Model'.

This, he said, was as a consequence of the starring role played by Head of Finance John McKeon and his team of officials in its compilation.

There were, at the same time, cautionary soundings uttered by his party colleague Joe Flaherty.

He said the €6m fall-off in planned expenditure levels from a previous high of €51m ten years previously underlined the “broken” nature of local government funding channels.

Those comments were ones which came in for sharp rebuke by both Fine Gael's Micheal Carrigy and Peggy Nolan.

“We have never had such a progressive budget,” said Cllr Nolan.

The long-time Longford town representative said she believed she was “talking in a vacuum” on foot of her belief the headlines in this week's Longford Leader would likely portray a “negative” overview of the county's development potential when, in fact the opposite was the case.

“We have talked the talk, but what we have to do now is stand together and walk the walk,” she confided.