Fine Gael councillors have been instructed by their Kilkenny-based Environment/Local Government spokesman Phil Hogan not to raise commercial rates or local government charges in 2009.  

“The publication of the White Paper on Government Expenditure demonstrates that Environment Minister John Gormley presided over cuts in local government services in 2008,” said Deputy Hogan.

“It’s anticipated that local government will face reductions of 13 per cent in real terms in financial support from the State in the year ahead.” 

Deputy Hogan said his party believes that the small business sector and “hard-pressed” public shouldn’t “have to pick up the pieces for the financial mess created by Fianna Fáil Governments in the last few years”.

He added: “It would not be acceptable for Minister Gormley to expect local authorities to take the easy option of raising taxes and charges to balance the books to shore up Government incompetence and waste.”