Sinn Féin backs Council Budget for Waterford

The Sinn Féin group on Waterford City and County Council has given its support to the local authority’s budget for 2021.
Group leader Councillor Conor McGuinness said:
“Following careful consideration, and acting in the best interests of the people that we are privileged to represent, the Sinn Féin team has voted in support of the budget as presented by Council chief executive Michael Walsh. 
“In spite of the very serious economic and financial side effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, we believe that this budget protects public services, and in a number of areas it actually increases the level of service, most notably

  • a €4.4m total increase
  • increases in Housing Maintenance and mobility grants
  • €3.9 additional for Roads and
  • in the provision of a long awaited 5-year Replacement and Repair Programme for Footpaths.
  • no increase in commercial rates on the struggling SME sector

“These are key items that Sinn Féin has advocated for. 

“Central government has provided additional support to Waterford. This has to be acknowledged. We welcome the allocation of some €12 million of public funds to offset the loss of rates revenue. We also note the strong indications of an additional €3m allocation over the coming weeks. 

“Perhaps the parties of the current coalition have learned their lesson after the last economic crash. The lesson my generation tried to tell them back in 2008 and 2009 and 2010. “You cannot cut your way out of an economic crisis” – investment in public services and public works is the best way to build up an economy.

“The work of rebuilding our country as we emerge from this crisis begins now. The Ireland that emerges after the current crisis will be shaped by the choices we make today. We cannot go back to doing things the way they were done before. We need to see a continuing commitment to funding public services, and to investment in capital works.  The time to rebuild our economy to be better, fairer and stronger is now.”

Full remarks made by Cllr. McGuinness:

The Sinn Féin group on Waterford City and County Council has engaged very closely with officials over the past number of months with regard to the framing of budget 2021. We wish to thank the officials involved for their assistance and time, for the attention they paid to our submissions and representations, and for their work in putting this document together. 

Our priorities are the sustainability of local government and the provision of public services, including services relating to housing. 

In spite of the very serious economic and financial side effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, we believe that this budget protects public services, and in a number of areas it actually increases the level of service, most notably

a €4.4m total increase

increases in Housing Maintenance and mobility grants

€3.9 additional for Roads and

in the provision of a long awaited 5-year Replacement and Repair Programme for Footpaths.

no increase in commercial rates on the struggling SME sector

These are key items that Sinn Féin has advocated for. 

Last year we took a principled decision to withhold support for a budget that we saw as flawed and deeply unfair. The Irish Water fiasco meant that Waterford was hit with disproportionate cuts. We could not tolerate€600,000 of income from council rent being used to offset this cut in our finances in the middle of a housing crisis. 

We argued at the time for central Government to provide additional support to shore up the cut in the context of Waterford being utterly neglected for a decade or more, and in the face of Brexit uncertainty. 

Little did we know then the uncertainty that would face us in Spring 2020. 

The various arms of the state and public administration have done well during an unprecedented time of national and international crisis.


In particular I want to pay tribute to the local government sector, the community sector, the defence forces, those working in social protection, An Garda Síochána, and indeed our heroic health workers who have made huge efforts and given exemplary service. 

Central government has provided additional support to Waterford. This has to be acknowledged. We welcome the allocation of some €12 million of public funds to offset the loss of rates revenue. We also note the strong indications of an additional €3m allocation over the coming weeks. 

Perhaps the parties of the current coalition have learned their lesson after the last economic crash. The lesson my generation tried to tell them back in 2008 and 2009 and 2010. “You cannot cut your way out of an economic crisis” – investment in public services and public works is the best way to build up an economy.

In his introduction to his budget proposal the Chief Executive notes the irony of the current situation. It has taken a crisis of global proportions, and perhaps the shock of the February election, for the conservative parties to realise the value of investment in public services. 

Mar a deireann an seanfhocal: is fearr go mall ná go brách.

Following careful consideration, and acting in the best interests of the people that we are privileged to represent, the Sinn Féin team will be supporting this budget. We will vote for its adoption this evening. 

We will do so with a number of reservations that need to be put on the record. 

While welcome the increased investment in local government, we are concerned about its sustainability. We call on central government to maintain its newfound interest in public services and capital investment. 

The Irish Water rates issue has not been resolved, despite being eclipsed this year by a cash injection from Central Government. 

We note Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, the Green Party and a number of independent Councillors voted an increase in the LPT in October. Not only do we think this is an unfair tax on the family home, but we are concerned about the growing dependence of local government on this income stream.

Central government has indicated that Waterford can expect a further sum of €3m or so before the end of the year. This is welcome but it is unfortunate that it comes after this budgetary process. We request that the benefit of this funding is put towards addressing the crisis in housing, than continues to be a feature of life across Waterford City and County. 

We are facing into a year of uncertainty and instability the like of which we haven’t seen in a hundred years. Let us borrow from the courage of our people a century ago. They shared an ambition for a brighter future. As 1920 drew to a close, they faced a seemingly invincible foe yet they stood their ground, strengthened their resolve, and threw their weight behind the National effort.

The work of rebuilding our country as we emerge from this crisis begins now. The Ireland that emerges after the current crisis will be shaped by the choices we make today. We cannot go back to doing things the way they were done before. We need to see a continuing commitment to funding public services, and to investment in capital works.  The time to rebuild our economy to be better, fairer and stronger is now. 

The Sinn Féin group on Waterford City and County Council has engaged very closely with officials over the past number of months with regard to the framing of budget 2021. We wish to thank the officials involved for their assistance and time, for the attention they paid to our submissions and representations, and for their work in putting this document together. 

Our priorities are the sustainability of local government and the provision of public services, including services relating to housing. 

In spite of the very serious economic and financial side effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, we believe that this budget protects public services, and in a number of areas it actually increases the level of service, most notably

a €4.4m total increase

increases in Housing Maintenance and mobility grants

€3.9 additional for Roads and

in the provision of a long awaited 5-year Replacement and Repair Programme for Footpaths.

no increase in commercial rates on the struggling SME sector

These are key items that Sinn Féin has advocated for. 

Last year we took a principled decision to withhold support for a budget that we saw as flawed and deeply unfair. The Irish Water fiasco meant that Waterford was hit with disproportionate cuts. We could not tolerate€600,000 of income from council rent being used to offset this cut in our finances in the middle of a housing crisis. 

We argued at the time for central Government to provide additional support to shore up the cut in the context of Waterford being utterly neglected for a decade or more, and in the face of Brexit uncertainty. 

Little did we know then the uncertainty that would face us in Spring 2020. 

The various arms of the state and public administration have done well during an unprecedented time of national and international crisis.


In particular I want to pay tribute to the local government sector, the community sector, the defence forces, those working in social protection, An Garda Síochána, and indeed our heroic health workers who have made huge efforts and given exemplary service. 

Central government has provided additional support to Waterford. This has to be acknowledged. We welcome the allocation of some €12 million of public funds to offset the loss of rates revenue. We also note the strong indications of an additional €3m allocation over the coming weeks. 

Perhaps the parties of the current coalition have learned their lesson after the last economic crash. The lesson my generation tried to tell them back in 2008 and 2009 and 2010. “You cannot cut your way out of an economic crisis” – investment in public services and public works is the best way to build up an economy.

In his introduction to his budget proposal the Chief Executive notes the irony of the current situation. It has taken a crisis of global proportions, and perhaps the shock of the February election, for the conservative parties to realise the value of investment in public services. 

Mar a deireann an seanfhocal: is fearr go mall ná go brách.

Following careful consideration, and acting in the best interests of the people that we are privileged to represent, the Sinn Féin team will be supporting this budget. We will vote for its adoption this evening. 

We will do so with a number of reservations that need to be put on the record. 

While welcome the increased investment in local government, we are concerned about its sustainability. We call on central government to maintain its newfound interest in public services and capital investment. 

The Irish Water rates issue has not been resolved, despite being eclipsed this year by a cash injection from Central Government. 

We note Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, the Green Party and a number of independent Councillors voted an increase in the LPT in October. Not only do we think this is an unfair tax on the family home, but we are concerned about the growing dependence of local government on this income stream.

Central government has indicated that Waterford can expect a further sum of €3m or so before the end of the year. This is welcome but it is unfortunate that it comes after this budgetary process. We request that the benefit of this funding is put towards addressing the crisis in housing, than continues to be a feature of life across Waterford City and County. 

We are facing into a year of uncertainty and instability the like of which we haven’t seen in a hundred years. Let us borrow from the courage of our people a century ago. They shared an ambition for a brighter future. As 1920 drew to a close, they faced a seemingly invincible foe yet they stood their ground, strengthened their resolve, and threw their weight behind the National effort.

The work of rebuilding our country as we emerge from this crisis begins now. The Ireland that emerges after the current crisis will be shaped by the choices we make today. We cannot go back to doing things the way they were done before. We need to see a continuing commitment to funding public services, and to investment in capital works.  The time to rebuild our economy to be better, fairer and stronger is now.