I have gotten a lot of feedback in the last few days about the confusion between myself- Fiona McLoughlin Healy (FG) and the other Fiona, Fiona O Loughlin (FF) our current Mayor. This is not new of course and was something we both had to contend with during our election campaign. With two such similar names I can understand the confusion that arises from time to time about who has said what.
I can’t speak for the Mayor but I am confident she would not like either of us to be perceived as hi-jacking each others work or informed opinions on any issue of relevance to the people who elected us. With respect to our Mayor who has her own opinions and political viewpoints, I want to, from the outset, highlight any points of difference that serve only to confuse the electorate.
The confusion this week centred around Mayor Fiona O’ Loughlin’s statement on the front page of the Leinster Leader about Local Property Tax. Mayor O’Loughlin “ said they would be naïve in thinking there would be no cuts to services if Kildare County Council cut its rate”.
This is a clear departure from her pre-election commitments clearly stated in her literature just a few short weeks ago that “ she is committed to lowering the property tax” adding in her newsletter that the LPT is “simply wrong”. The confusion arises because her new stance mimics mine on an interview with KFM about LPT last week and again last Monday at the full Council meeting.
Here is a brief summary of my interview about LPT on KFM and my subsequent contribution to the motion to lower property tax at the full meeting of the Council.
I spoke to Shane Beatty of being annoyed at finding out earlier in that week that Councillors were being asked to decide whether or not to lower the LPT BEFORE getting into the Council budget process. Absolutely impossible. It make for poor budgeting and poor politics to make a blind decision on the LPT with no care or concern for what impact there may be on services like roads and lighting to the funding of our community and voluntary groups.
In preparation for a motion put forward by Cllr Cronin SF for last Monday proposing a reduction of 15% in the LPT, I called on all Councillors to forego grandstanding on the LPT purely for personal political gain.
I called on the Council administration to assist Cllrs to arrive at an informed decision on the LPT by first providing the financial information necessary to make such a decision.
I stated my hope that we could reduce the LPT once we could identify where savings could be made .
At the full Council meeting on Monday, in reply to the motion put forward by Cllr Cronin, I re-stated my concerns about irresponsible politicking using the LPT and again called for a new type of politics, a new Council that would come together to make decisions in the best interest of all our constituents and not just in the interest of personal political gain. We need to make an informed devision. All Cllrs need to and should want to know what impact reductions in LPT will have on essential services like roads, lighting, funding for our community and voluntary groups etc BEFORE making a decision …not the other way around. Lowering the LPT will result from efficient and effective budgeting, first.
Contrary to Cllr Mark Lynch’s assertion that ‘the money will come from somewhere” for any services impacted. the Chief Executive cautioned strongly against making such an inaccurate assumption.
It is Mayor Fiona O Loughlin on the front page of the Leinster Leader this week quoted as saying “they would be naive in thinking there would be no cuts to services if Kildare County Council cut its rate”
Now to get to the confusion. I, Fiona MC never promised a blind reduction in property tax to get votes.
I will let you judge the inconsistency of Cllr Fiona O Loughlin’s pre-election promises ‘pictured below’ with the statement quoted in the Leinster Leader this week.