Transport Minister Shane Ross was in the Seanad this afternoon for statements on the transfer of functions of the harbour company to Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council (DLRCoCo), which was made formal today (Wednesday 3 October) after he signed off on the move last week.
DLRCoCo later held a Special Meeting to debate the transfer, at which Councillor Cormac Devlin said the debt “will have a significant impact on future council budgets and may lead to reduced services and increases in commercial rates and the Local Property Tax.
“The chief executive of the council confirmed to members that the figure of €33m may actually be at the lower end of the scale of liabilities. This directly contradicts Minister Shane Ross’ claim to the Seanad that the debt is only €10m.”
Cllr Devlin called on the Government to “find a way to indemnify the council to ensure residents and business owners do not suffer for their policies.”
Councillor Dónal Smith was even more vociferous, branding Minister Ross’ lack of a promise of indemnity as “a kick in the teeth for the people who elected him. He has hung a financial albatross around the necks of his constituents. He will not be thanked.”
Cllr Smith said suggestions that the council sell public lands earmarked for housing to pay down the harbour’s debts amount to “a scandal”.
“If Fine Gael gives a toss about the residents and ratepayers of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, their Government will indemnify the council,” he added.
Update on Thursday 4 October: The full Special Meeting can be streamed in full from DLRCoCo's webcast player HERE.