Ahead of Thursday’s meeting of South Dublin County Council, Mayor Fintan Warfield welcomed the Draft Annual South Dublin County Council Budget for 2015.

Mayor Warfield said;

“Council Budget 2015 is a hugely positive budget and reflects the mandate received by Sinn Féin Councillors in the Local Elections last May.

“Despite one or two outstanding issues that need to be ironed out, I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to participate with Sinn Féin colleagues and those in the Progressive Alliance in drafting a budget which takes significant steps to address inequality within our county.

“The housing and homeless crisis faced by South Dublin County has been given particular attention and rightly so.

“Since 2008 Government funding for social housing has been cut by 90%. The solution to the housing crisis is very simple – Government need to build more social homes.

“In June, I pledged to use my office to highlight the housing crisis and to promote meaningful solutions to that crisis.

“No family should have to sleep night after night in a hotel. No young person should have to sleep rough on a cold winters night.

“We have taken a decision to provide an additional €900,000 to our homeless services bringing the net cost of that service to over €1.5million. Our homeless services must have the funding required to support those without a home and to assist them to live independently. The 2015 figures represent an increase of 150% for 2015.

“One million euro will again be provided for the windows and doors replacement programme on social homes.

“South Dublin has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the country.

“We need to give our young people hope – we need to offer them a real chance to live and make their home here.

“A provision of €1.2 million has again been made in 2015 for a business support fund. This will support an average 8% reduction on business rates for SME’s who pay their rates in accordance with the scheme. 800 businesses are likely to avail of this facility.

“Funding for the Council’s Education Bursary Programme has been increased from €30,000 to €50,000. The Programme was developed to encourage students from areas of the County to progress to third level education, by funding any additional expenses they may incur.

“Lastly, a provision of half a million euro has been made for the roll out of the community playground programme.”