Almost €1 million a year taken from council employee pensions was used to balance the books of Laois County Council and prop up the Local Property Tax for the past two years, but now must be given up to the government.
The figures came to light yesterday in council chambers, when councillors were deciding on Local Property Tax levels in Laois for 2017.
The household tax is topped up by a government subsidy to Laois that will rise by €925,000 next year.
Before councillors could celebrate the extra spending money, Finance Director Gerry Murphy explained that this is to offset the loss of income generated from retired employees' pension cutbacks. From 2017 this must be handed over to central government.
“In 2015 and 2016 the Pension Related Deduction was used to balance our books, but not in 2017,” he said.
“We need to clear up that old age pensions were not used to prop up councillors going on junkets, that we are not raiding our retired workers to keep Laois County Council afloat,” said Cllr Willie Aird.
“This has nothing to do with old age pensioners,” said Mr Murphy. Councillors voted to leave Local Property Tax levels at the same rate. See page 3.