Back from the brink – Donegal County Councillors now given until January 13th to agree a Budget

Donegal County CouncilDonegal County Councillors have been given until January 13th to agree a Budget – this after Councillors took part in a vote that they thought effectively dissolved the council.
Despite three days and nights of deliberation, Councillors failed to reach an agreement on a Revenue budget for 2014.
Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein and Independent John Campbell voted against the draft Budget which pointed to the council being dissolved and a commissioner  being appointed by the Government to run the county’s affairs.
In the vote, those opposed to the draft Budget came out 15 to 13 ahead.
But in an unexpected move, after the vote was taken, the County Secretary indicated that there was provision within the Local Government Act to adjourn the meeting until January 13th.
This came after a number of Councillors had already expressed their disappointment that the council had fallen. Sinn Fein had gone so far as to announce it had by way of a press release from its Headquarters.
Earlier in the proceedings,  Independent Councillor Frank McBrearty said it was likely his last time in the chamber. The Sinn Fein Whip, Mick Quinn stated that if voting against budget means that he and his colleagues receive their P45 tonight then so be it.
Independent Councillor John Campbell said ‘Budget will fall… I believe I’m acting in the best interests of Donegal. I can’t in good conscience pass a budget will not balance’ Fianna Fail’s Dessie Larkin said that voting against the budget is the hardest decision he has ever had to make.
The main stumbling block in accepting the Budget for Sinn Fein and Fianna Fail was how the introduction of water charges was handled. The Council meets again on January 13th at 11am to see if a agreement can finally be reached.
We will have full coverage of the meeting on our morning news updates and during the Shaun Doherty Show.