15 January 1997 Edition

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New Deal is a sham

``This is a very proud day for me,'' proclaimed Environment minister Noel Dempsey this week. Dempsey was unveiling his New Deal for Local Government. The main points of the New Deal are a much needed increase in funding for local government and a change in the sources of funding. Over the next two years motor taxation is to be increased by 6% and the funds are to be earmarked for local authority spending.

Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín O Caoláin welcomed the increase in spending but questioned whether there really was a new deal for local government.

He told An Phoblacht ``Over the last 20 years local government funding has been in crisis. In the last four there have been three expensive experts' reports and a public consultation process. What these showed conclusively was the lack of a vibrant local democracy in the 26 Counties and the need for a proper funding mechanism for the state's local authorities. None of these elements are in Dempsey's new deal.''

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