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Government refuses to meet city councillors

Dublin councillors are furious after being snubbed by Government officials in their bid to discuss the cash-strapped city's finances.

Members of the council's finance strategic policy committee invited a Department of Environment official to meet them but were turned down.

Cllr Dermot Lacey has dubbed their refusal as "disgraceful" at a time when the city is in dire financial straits following funding cuts in the wake of the McCarthy report.

"It comes on top of the McCarthy committee failing to meet the city manager, despite proposing massive cut backs in local government and in advance of huge cuts in funding to be imposed by the same department."

Councillors say a meeting would open up a "dialogue" to achieve a balance between the needs of the city and the department's priorities.

The committee sent another invitation last Thursday to appeal to an "appropriate spokesperson" to meet them once again.

They wish to highlight the key areas where money is needed in Dublin city to the department, such as making the city more tourist-friendly.

Extraordinary

Cllr Lacey added: "We reissued the invitation to the appropriate spokesperson. It's extraordinary that they said no. It makes sense that the Department of Environment would meet with us to discuss finances."

A department spokesperson said: "[The official] indicated that he was unable to accept the invitation but provided the information sought. He also met the director of finance around that time and explained the position, which she accepted.

"In the normal course, we meet the Dublin city manager on a regular basis and are able to keep him advised of all relevant matters in relation to local government financing."

hnews@herald.ie