Council finally passes budget for 2012 after two days of negotiations

Donegal County Council passed its budget for 2012 last evening after two full days of negotiations.

In the end Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, Labour and three Independents backed the budget while Sinn Fein and Councillor John Campbell opposed it.

The extensive negotiations meant a number of amendments to the draft budget - these include 400 thousand euro extra for roads, still down 600 thousand on last year. 20 thousand euro for Buncrana Swimming pool, 20 thousand for an Island fund while the members fund and a development fund Initiative will total 240 thousand.

Fianna Fail said it reluctantly backed the budget, Party Whip Ciaran Brogan says a less severe cut in roads funding was the key factor as was funding for tourism:

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Fine Gael pushed for the Islands fund and money for the Buncrana swimming pool - the party also welcomed a new initiative that will see new town centre business pay no rates for first year trading.

This is providing they do not compete with an existing business, are under a certain square footage and stay trading for two years.

Councillor Barry O'Neill said it was a good budget agreed in challenging times:

[podcast]http://www.highlandradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/baram.mp3[/podcast]

Sinn Fein expressed disappointment that the budget was passed.

The party argued that if it had not been, a strong message would have been sent to government that the county needs more local government funding.

Councillor Mick Quinn said it was an opportunity lost to make an argument for Donegal to be treated as a special case:

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