Recently elected Sligo councillor now wants seat in Dail

Supports debt-hit Sligo County Council investing in airport as ‘central government don’t have those kind of funds’

Sligo News File Online

A councillor elected to the Sligo local authority a year ago now wants a seat in the Dail.

CasserlyCouncillor Marie Casserly, a teacher, said her decision was motivated by what she sees as the untapped potential in the region.

Quite what she hopes to accomplish isn’t clear, but in an interview with Ocean FM presenter Niall Delaney last week she spoke in favour of debt ridden Sligo County Council investing in Knock Airport where the debt stands at €9 million.

Asked by Mr. Delaney why the €9 million airport debt should not be picked up by the government, Casserly replied “central government don’t have those type of funds.”

It is estimated the ‘investment’ in Knock would cost Sligo upwards of €2 million, when loan fees and interest charges are included. The council’s stake would be worth only as little as a few percent.

The Government has refused or failed to take any responsibility for the debts of the airport despite recently gracing Shannon – a rival of Knock – with millions of euro in debt write offs and a raft of other major concessions.

Knock airport is in the Mayo constituency of the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, whose Fine Gael-Labour Coalition are believed to be behind the plan to have Sligo and a few other local authorities put up the money to settle the airport’s €9 million debt pile. There are fears it could result in increased commercial rates and property tax on the
family home to address deficits going forward.

Sligo County Council currently has a debt load of €120 million as well as a €26 million cumulative debt on which it can only afford to pay the interest.

Environment Minister, Alan Kelly told TD, Clare Daly last week that the ‘continued deterioration’ of Sligo County Council’s financial position ‘is a serious concern’ to him.

Casserly, a North Sligo-based Independent councillor, launched her campaign as an Independent candidate for the Dail in Grange a few days ago.