Cost of council refit could cost €320,000

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FINGAL County Council (FCC) has estimated the cost of re-fitting the council chamber in Swords to cope with the expected increase in the number of Fingal councillors as €15,000 to €20,000 per additional seat for the County Hall Chamber.
However, FCC stated at the council meeting last Monday, February 11, that no firm costings have been calculated yet.
The number of Fingal councillors is expected to increase from 24 to 40, under the action programme, “Putting People First”. This programme was launched in October as part of the government’s reform of the political system, and overall will save the taxpayer over €420 million.
This programme will see the number of local authorities reduced from 114 to 31 city and county councils, with integrated areas called Municipal Districts. Council seats will be reduced from 1,627 to no more than 950, and the members elected at local level will also represent the district at county level.
FCC stated: “The design work is at an early stage and work is being carried out on the project brief” while “consultations are ongoing with the IT and corporate services departments”.
FCC stated they may consider a change of venue for the area committee meetings, given the capacity of Baldoyle, and Malahide library may be selected as the new venue.
FCC stated: “It is not anticipated that the proposed increase in Fingal County councillors will result in an increase in staffing payroll costs.  Due to the current moratorium on recruitment, no additional staff will be recruited for this purpose and the extra demands will have to be met from within existing staff resources.”
“I personally think Fingal works quite well with 24 councillors. I think the last thing we need is another 16 councillors on top of that,” said Cllr Daragh Butler (FF).
“I think people would much rather the money were spent on extra facilities and extra services and extra special needs assistance. Maybe a modest increase would have been needed – I think 24 to maybe 28 or 30. But going up to 40, I think is a bit too much.”

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