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The Kildare grouping of Social Democrats councillors – Cllr Nuala Killeen, Cllr Chris Pender and Cllr Aidan Farrelly – have secured a firm commitment from Kildare County Council to ringfence the first €250,000 of any potential funding increases in 2021 for community services.

During the 2021 Annual Budget meeting, the Social Democrats councillors proposed a motion to ensure community services – such as parks, libraries, community grants, accessibility issues recreation and the arts – are prioritised when any increase in funding is received. In a letter to councillors from the minister recently, a commitment was given by the Department to provide additional funding to local authorities in 2021.

Cllr Kileen said:

“The Social Democrats group acknowledge that we have to survive the Covid19 era but we also have to invest in our communities to deliver a society and an economy that can revive and revive well.

“We can spend huge amounts of time arguing about very small sums of money taking from lines of budget that are already severely underfunded – or we can be evidence-based in our approach to focus on the facilities, resources and services that benefit everyone and that kept communities together this year. We need to take a proactive approach to this.”

Cllr Pender said:

“We acknowledge that pre-Covid Kildare was dealing with the consequences of a decade of underinvestment, lack of access to housing, economic inequalities and lack of opportunities. All of these challenges remain and many have been worsened by the effects of the current crisis.

“The old normal will still be as difficult and divisive if we do not improve our society at the same time as we try to protect it. We acknowledge the need for an operational and functional local authority but we also must invest in survival and revival. We are seeking to create an inclusive, just and equitable society.”

Cllr Farrelly said:

“It should be a goal to gender and equality-proof all decisions on expenditure and revenue raising. We must make sure we create amenities that cater for all ages and abilities and access requirements.

“We want to see a minimum of €250,000 of any funds received from Government in 2021 focused on our libraries, community grants, facilities and disabled persons’ grants. To see the full support of Council members on today’s motion speaks to the importance of this.

“While our ultimate goal is to see 2% of the value of future budgets as an investment in communities in future budgets, our motion today is seeking an allocation of just .001% of the overall budget.”

November 29, 2000

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