THE new chairman of the West Cork Municipal District Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) believes the biggest challenge facing the local authority in 2020 will be the struggle to secure funding for house repairs and road works.
Moments after he was elected at a meeting of the WCMD in Dunmanway on Monday, Cllr Collins – who was first co-opted to the Council in 2016 following the elevation of his brother, Michael, to the Dáil – spoke about the financial hardships that the local authority and the business community are likely to experience in the months ahead.
The councillor – who was nominated for the task by Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind) and seconded by Cllr Katie Murphy (FG) – believes that the Council is facing a deficit of between €16m and €20m ahead of the 2021 budget.’
He told The Southern Star that this is going to have a major impact on a variety of projects, ‘such as proposed public realm and road works, as well as the maintenance of the Council’s housing stock.’
Cllr Collins said the lockdown has hit a lot of businesses hard. ‘Some were unable to reopen, but even those that have reopened are facing an uncertain future, not to mention additional personal protective equipment costs.
‘The Council’s collection of rates will be down significantly and this means the local authority will be unable to fund a number of important, as well as routine, projects.’
On a more positive note, Cllr Collins said the figures for Covid-19 in Cork county are still low. ‘We are all hoping the numbers will continue to decrease and that restaurant, bars, and coffee shops will be able to re-open safely – provided they observe social distancing and abide by the regulations.’
The role of the vice-chairman of the West Cork Municipal District was filled by Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy (FF). Cllr Murphy was proposed by Cllr Declan Hurley and seconded by Cllr Karen Coakley (FG).