Republic’s councils: Power without responsibilities?

Here’s one we missed from yesterday. It made the front page in Indo, and concerns the lowest tier of government in the Republic, which are now

…relying on overdrafts and bank loans to meet day-to-day expenses, the Irish Independent has learned.

This is despite the councils being ordered to reduce their costs and borrowings three years ago — a directive that has been widely ignored.

And while the councils themselves are owed more than €500m in unpaid levies, rates and water charges, a series of audits reveals a litany of waste and poor financial management within the local authorities.

The cash crisis means further cutbacks to local services are inevitable.

The audits found three councils are in dire financial straits, while 18 of the 24 whose accounts were examined are running a deficit or are overdrawn.

Councils are minister Phil Hogan’s sights for reform. Jack Lynch ‘reforms’ of 1977 gutted councils of any effective local democratic scrutiny leaving TDs to take up much of the responsibility for generating local resources…

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