A Waterford TD says we have a real problem with how local authorities in Ireland are funded.
Council’s receive money through rates, local charges as well as central government funding for roads and from the local property tax.
Sinn Fein’s David Cullinane told the Public Accounts Committee that he spoke to three different council CEOs ahead of their meeting. “They spoke of their frustration because they find it very difficult to plan or even to understand what funding might be available to them year on year. They also find it very difficult to report back to all of the different funders. They were all of the same opinion that they have many masters and each of the masters has different processes and ways of doing things in terms of accounting.”
He added “My first general observation is that because it is very convoluted it can be very difficult to have high levels of transparency and accountability. Would that be something that the Comptroller and Auditor General would have been conscious of or alert to when he was preparing his report?”
The Comptroller and Auditor General is Seamus McCarthy. He agreed with Deputy Cullinane: “That is exactly why I did the report. It was clear to me that there was an issue. I was struggling to understand the flows of funds and I would probably be closer to many of the accounts than anybody else.
Deputy Cullinane concluded, “I think it is safe to say that if the Comptroller and Auditor General was struggling to understand the flow of funds, then we have a real problem that needs to be addressed.”