Lough Ree Power Plant, Lanesboro.
Longford County Council is battling with the financial effects of Covid-19, just like every other local authority, according to Head of Finance & Regeneration, John McKeon.
In a presentation given to all three Municipal Districts last week, Mr McKeon explained that the council has seen a loss of €1.1m in goods and services, and an expenditure of €800,000 related to Covid-19, which means an overall shortfall of €1.9m.
The council is also suffering the loss of Lanesboro Power Station as a rate payer this year, resulting in a further shortfall of €1.2m.
“A government decision was made on November 8 last year that Lanesboro power station would cease production at the end of December 2020,” Mr McKeon explained.
“As a consequence of that, Lanesboro Power Station will no longer be a rates payer. They are our biggest single rates payer. They account for 15% of our rates in the rates of €1.2m, where the average rate payer is paying €1,800 per annum, it’d take I think 661 of them to replace Lanesboro. So it shows you the scale of the rates we’re taking for Lanesboro.”
Mr McKeon revealed that, due to Longford’s “robust” position in 2019, he would be “cautiously confident” that Longford would be able to make up the Covid shortfall in the budget process.
“But it would be absolutely impossible at this moment in time, without intervention from central government, that we would be able to make up the shortfall that is being created there by Lanesboro Power Station,” he said.
“That wasn’t envisaged to happen until 2026 and it was supposed to go on a step-down process but I suppose the central government decision just cut it short.”
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