South Dublin County Council votes to increase rent in Annual Budget

South Dublin County Council has voted to increase rent by an average €156 per year as part of their Annual Budget for 2020.

The budget, which was voted on in the council chamber earlier this month, reports an “average increase of €3 across the board”, which works out at an extra €156 annually. In addition, OAPs are set to have a subsidy previously provided to them in order to help cover the cost of rent cut.

The budget passed following the approval of the ruling group, consisting of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, the Green Party and a number of Independents; Cllr. Alan Hayes and Cllr. Ronan McMahon.

There was widespread criticism of aspects of the budget, namely to decision to increase rent. People Before Profit Cllr. Madeleine Johansson described the proposal as targeting “the most vulnerable in our society who are already struggling to make ends meet”, while David Gardiner, Workers’ Party candidate in the Dublin Mid-West byelection, deemed it “completely irresponsible” in the context of the ongoing housing crisis. Former councillor Ruth Nolan, who is contesting the byelection as the Independents4Change candidate, called it “shameful”.

Some also accused the ruling group of attempting to pass the budget through with little to no debate surrounding it.

Also included in the budget was a fund of €70,000 allocated to sending councillors on trips overseas. Independent Cllr. Paul Gogarty, yet another byelection hopeful, criticised this as “carbon emitting junkets.” 

A motion from Sinn Féin Cllr. Mark Ward, also throwing his name into the hat for the aforementioned byelection, calling for the overseas travel fund to be diverted to an educational bursary, to allow homeless families access to third-level education, was opposed by the ruling group.

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