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Lowry Welcomes Assistance For Tipperary Local Authority

Tipperary TD Michael Lowry

Independent Tipperary TD Mr Michael Lowry has welcomed the announcement, on Saturday last, that Government has given a commitment to all Local Authorities to ‘make up the shortfall in incomes from rates, to enable same to continue to provide full services to the public’.

While describing this as significant, he says that further assistance and supportive measures will be required based on losses incurred, that are specific to different regions of the country.

Deputy Michael Lowry has been contacted by the Chief Executives of the five Local Authorities in the South East, who have outlined their increasing concerns in relation to the economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis on a number of levels.

The five Local Authorities that form the Ireland South East region, submitted their major priorities to Government in March. The document outlined major priorities for Tipperary, Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford Authorities. However, due to the escalating and accumulating impact of the pandemic crisis, they have already reached the point where they felt it necessary to update their priorities in an revised submission last week.

Deputy Lowry is fully supportive of the need for assistance for these Local Authorities in view of the unprecedented and unexpected losses they are experiencing and the struggles they face in the coming months.

Tipperary County Council estimates that the Public Health Crisis could cost them in excess of €20 million, due to both increased costs and a reduction in income.

It is estimated that lost income from rates will likely be in the region of €14m, which will now be offset by Government funding, but there are other important lost sources of income such as revenue from parking fees. Local Authorities nationally are also experiencing increases in costs in certain areas as a result of the current crisis.

The South East Region as a whole has also outlined their grave concerns regarding job losses. It is estimated that around half of the jobs in the South East are in industries/sectors that are expected to be severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis. It is also clear that the ability of County Councils in the South East to financially support their recovery will be severely compromised.

Town centre support will be needed in the absence of festivals, cultural and sporting events. Given the South East’s economic vulnerability, this national issue will have a disproportionate impact on the region.

The South East Local Authorities state that, while the context has changed, the key elements of the previously identified priorities, as submitted to Government in March, remain central to minimising the short and medium term vulnerability of the South East region.

To this end, the Chief Executives of the 5 South East Local Authorities believe that the COVID-19 recovery phase for the South East will require the delivery of a number of key elements including Direct Funding Support for Local Authorities, more Agency Engagement and Direct Regional Stimulus.

Deputy Lowry says that the full list of requirements span a range of Government Departments and Agencies. “Local Authorities in the South East need the input and co-operation of each to prevent the undoing of progress already made and to ensure that the South East region does not slip even further than it did during the 2008 recession”.

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