Doherty criticises Govt for ignoring Stranorlar school

Sinn Fèin Councillor Gary Doherty has today severely criticised the Government for not including St Mary's National School, Stranorlar in its six year Capital Plan.

The school has previously received site and planning permission for a new building and it had been hoped that funding would be earmarked for construction to begin during the term of the next Government but this has not materialised.

Speaking today, Cllr Doherty said "I was extremely dissapponted to learn that St Marys N.S., Stranorlar was not included in the the five year Capital Programme.  It should be painfully clear to all stakeholders that this school should be top of any funding and building programme which comes online but unfortunately that has not been the case."

He continued "St Mary's is the biggest National School in the Finn Valley and one of the biggest in the County.  It has seen enrolment figures increase year on year, including an intake of 70 Junior Infants this year.  At present, 170 children in the school are in prefabricated accommodation, and only four of the twelve permanent classrooms have toilets or running water.  That is a situation that cannot be allowed to continue, and it is inexplicable that this Government has ignored these figures when compiling the new Capital Plan.

"The Capital Plan includes a figure of €3 Billion explicitly earmarked for a school building programme.  Parents in the Twin Towns deserve answers as to why their school was not included."

Sinn Féin proposal to reduce property tax defeated

Sinn Féin Donegal County Councillors have today proposed to reduce the local property tax by the full 15% that Council is mandated to do.  The proposal was defeated by a vote of 20-9 with four abstentions.

Speaking after the vote Cllr Gary Doherty  said:

"Sinn Féin believes that the local property tax is a regressive, unjust austerity measure and the 15% reduction will result in €1.5m going back into people’s pockets throughout this County. This proposal would have been a small step on the road to complete abolition of the local property tax, which is Sinn Féin’s policy should we be elected to government.”

“In addition to the water charges, the local property tax was introduced by the government as part of its austerity agenda with absolutely no regard to people’s ability to pay. As a result, those who can afford to pay more in tax simply don’t. There are people on very high earnings living next door to those who struggle to pay - a situation resulting from the variation of property prices over time. That is a failed policy on the part of the government.”

“At a time when over 110,000 families are in mortgage distress of over 90 days in this country and deprivation levels remain unacceptably high, the regressive and blanket nature of the local property tax is simply unacceptable.

"We in Sinn Fèin are saddened that the other Councillors in Donegal could not see this and did not support our proposal."

Works to Castlefinn Bridge to begin

Works to complete the upgrading of the southern side of Castlefinn Bridge will begin in the coming weeks.  The news comes after the signing of a contract between the Council and the contractor this morning.

Local Councillor Gary Doherty has welcomed the news.

"The news that the contract has been signed and work to finish the southern side of the bridge will come as a huge relief to the residents of Castlefinn and everyone who uses the bridge. Work on the bridge began last year when the stone walls were removed and the bridge widened.  However we have had to wait until now for further funding to become available to finish the job. We were left with a half finished bridge which was both unsightly and unsafe, but I am hugely satisfied that now the contracts have been signed, the work will commence and the bridge will be returned to its former glory.

"The work is scheduled to begin in the third week of September, and will complete the southern side of the bridge.  The contract includes for the restoration of the stone cladding on the bridge.  This is essential to preserve the heritage and historical integrity of Castlefinn Bridge. 

"We are very proud of our bridge, and when the work is finished I am hopeful that the people of the area will acknowledge that it was worth the wait in order for the work to be done right and the aesthetic beauty retained."