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28 May 2022

Covid fallout hits Longford County Council for €1m

Covid

A breakdown of the loss in income incurred by Longford County Council as a result of Covid-19

Government chiefs believe they will be able to offset over €1m in revenue lost by Longford County Council over the past 12 months.

Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar said he remained confident the State's coffers would be able to withstand the local authority's seven figure shortfall as a consequence of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“I believe so,” he said, in response to direct questions put to him b y this newspaper last week concerning the Government's financial capabilities to meet the fiscal challenges faced by rural councils like Longford.

“We (government) have set aside an additional €4bn in the Budget as a Covid contingency fund.”

Mr Varadkar qualified those remarks by accepting that while central government had supplementary resources at its disposal following a better than anticipated Budget, immediate State intervention would not necessarily take precedence.

“We can do that (provide additional financial support) if we need to, but we are hoping and planning for that not to be the case,” he said.

That came after Longford Municipal District councillors were briefed on the area's General Municipal allocation for the coming year.

Head of Finance John McKeon said the council was looking at incurring a €1.1m loss over the course of 2021.

He admitted that while monies provided over the past 18 months in aiding Longford County Council navigate its way through Covid-19 had been critical, he remained more pessimistic about a similar situation emerging into 2022.

Mr McKeon said the success enjoyed by the council in being able to bankroll umpteen infrastructural and regeneration projects had largely stemmed from its own frugal in-house budgetary housekeeping.

“We (Council) in doing many of these, hav e to come up with matched funding, so the more successful we are on one side of it puts more pressure on us from the other side,” he said.

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