The main State grant to pay for public services in Laois has halved since the last general election with the biggest cut coming this year.
In 2014, the Department of the Environment gave €7.6 million to Laois County Council under the so-called general purpose grants programme. This compares to just over €15 million in 2011 and some €17 million in 2009.
The grant is nearly €5.5 million down on 2013. Most of last year’s cut was due to the creation of Irish Water but when spending on water is excluded, the council still has €2 million less to spend.
Answering a question in the Dáil the Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan said the grant goes towards meeting the costs to local authorities of “providing a reasonable level of services to their customers”.
Presenting this year’s budget to county councillors last December, Laois county manager Mr Peter Carey said budgeting has been difficult.
“The preparation of the draft budget had been a challenging as the task of providing the same level of services with reduced resources is difficult. It will be necessary to examine the sustainability of services in light of the every decreasing funding,” said Mr Carey in his report.
The manager said pay has been cut through various means while staff have also taken voluntary redundancy. However because of the need to make more savings, he said all spending has been examined to substantiate the need for scope or scale of all work.
Cllr Padraig Fleming said the grant was €17 million in 2009. He said the cuts over time have reduce the council’s deliver of many services.