Tuesday 30 September 2008

Dublin council plans swingeing cuts in city building projects

DUBLIN CITY Council has drawn up a citywide list of building projects which are likely to be shelved because of the declining public finances.

The council refused to provide The Irish Times with the list, but documents seen by this newspaper reveal swingeing cuts in the south-central area of the city.

Among the projects facing deferral in this area are a proposed new civic space in front of Kilmainham Jail, plans for a new ceremonial entrance to the War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge and a leisure centre in Crumlin.

Other projects which are being mothballed include a proposed new walking and cycling route along the Camac river, village improvements in Inchicore and Rialto and a planned open space at Ballyfermot Civic Centre.

South Central area manager Anne Graham has told local councillors these projects have been deferred "unless an alternative source of funding can be identified".

Ms Graham said the council carried out a comprehensive review of all capital projects over the summer because of a "significant" shortfall in capital funding.

However, when asked to furnish this document, the council said it could not, as it was still a draft and they did not want to "disappoint" communities.

"It's unclear at this stage what the position is. We'll have to wait until budget day to see what the Government decides," said head of finance Kathy Quinn.

However, she confirmed that the two main sources of funding for capital projects aside from Government support - development contributions and sales of assets - had dropped this year and were likely to be down next year too.

This means it will be extremely difficult to find alternative sources of funding.

The council's review of capital projects was continuing, she said, and it would not be clear until after the budget how many would go ahead. If reports that the Government intended to borrow heavily were true, the funding situation for the council would probably be better than expected.

In the south central area, Ms Graham says projects worth €14 million are already under way or about to start.

These include environmental improvements in Chapelizod village, the regeneration of Cork Street and the provision of a community centre in Bluebell.

The Irish Times


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