County Manager in warning over stark financial situation

Seamus Duke In the clearest indication yet of a major economic downturn locally Roscommon County Manager Mr. John Tiernan outlined to Monday’s meeting of Roscommon County Council the stark reality of the difficult financial situation being faced by the local authority.   Mr. Tiernan’s comments came during a debate on disabled persons housing repair grants. Many councillors complained that applicants were being told that they had been approved for a grant but that when they enquired about getting payment they were told that there was no money left in the fund.   Mr. Tiernan said that during the debate he heard someone say that in 2007 the country was ‘awash with money’. ‘Well I can tell you that the tide is well and truly gone out now’ he said.   ‘We are living in different times now. There is a word that staff in the council are having to get used to using recently. It is a word that they have not used much over the last eight to ten years and that word is ‘NO” he said.   ‘Our grant from the government this year is much the same as last year but that is a huge cut in itself. For example the price of fuel is gone up hugely, the cost of bitumen for repairing roads for example is gone up 25% this year alone – so you can see the difficulty we are in over a range of services’ he said.   ‘We cannot raise money from loans because we will not be allowed to raise huge loans any more’ he told councillors.   Mr. Tiernan said that ‘we have written to the Department (of the Environment) on a number of occasions recently. There are no extra funds available and that’s the way it will be into the near to long term future. We all have to deal with that reality.’