Councillor Sharon Tolan.
Local Fine Gael Councillor, Sharon Tolan, has today welcomed the Meath County Council €208.7 million Budget for 2024.
Speaking at the Annual Budget Meeting, Cllr Tolan said: “I want to welcome this Budget, a massive €208.7 million, and what demonstrates as an increase across all Service Divisions which will ensure better services across the county.
I particularly want to highlight the increase in grants and subsidies and acknowledge the economic success of this government that has led to that increase.
I am delighted with the progress in the Laytown Bettystown Municipal District and that progress is very evident throughout the District.
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I want to welcome the news that at last we are ready to make an application to An Bord Pleanala for the Slane Bypass and public realm, that will have such a positive impact for the village of Slane and its residents, visitors and those travelling through it on a daily basis.
The additional 14 outdoor workers, 4 for the Laytown Bettystown MD will make a huge difference in services on the ground for our residents here in Meath.
I am delighted with the progress on Bettystown Library and the increase in funding for library staff for next year when this exceptional building will open. I recently visited Drogheda Library to check out the facilities there and particularly the My Open Library Service, which we will also enjoy in Bettystown when it opens.
"It was so great to see it packed with young people, many of whom were studying for their Leaving Cert. We learned during Covid that not all young people have a quiet space at home for their studies. Our library will be a warm, welcoming, quiet space for all to enjoy, with the first Sensory Room in the county and study pods for students. I look forward to it opening mid 2024.
The additional €200,000 in funding for drainage and flooding will bring great relief for everyone, as we wait for the OPW to deliver the desperately needed Flood Relief Schemes in the county and especially on the coast. This funding will go a long way to maintain our drainage and fight future floods.
As Chairwoman of the Board of Meath Local Sports Partnership, I am especially pleased to see the extra funding in for Community Sport and Recreational Development almost €1 million, an increase of over €81,000. I would like to see a Sports Development Officer for Swimming in the county. You know swimming is a life skill as well as a wonderful sporting activity, and we need to help ensure that as many of our Meath residents have access to swimming and learning to swim.
I am also delighted to see an increase in funding for our Beaches and water quality, and I want to welcome the announcement of a potentially new bathing site being identified. We know only too well how many people are swimming regularly in Laytown, Bettystown, Mornington and Gormanston and I think it’s high time we made these locations official Bathing Sites so that we can deliver safety measures and ensure that the water quality is excellent in the interest of public health.
"I think we also need to see the delivery of a permanent Beach Warden. Our beaches are busy places 12 months of the year and a permanent presence would ensure public safety and deal with issues such as dog control and littering incidents.
"I am very happy to support this budget!"