Thank you to Director Seán Coughlan and his team for preparing the Limerick Council budget for 2020. There is a huge amount that is positive in it with increased spending in many areas that require it. Councillor John Sheehan referenced climate change in his remarks. It is the most serious issue facing humanity. It is not an abstract concept. It will impact us here in Limerick as much as it will impact other nations around the world. I welcome Councillor Sheehan’s commitment to work with us in the Green Party. We will reciprocate and commit to working with all parties and none.
It is fundamentally important that we change how our society works such that we are not making the problems we face worse, and leaving ourselves needlessly exposed to increased risks. This is where the planning and the funding comes in. It is said that if you want to measure a government’s or a local authority’s commitment you look at where the funding is going.
In many respects this is a ‘business as usual’ budget which reinforces the travel and settlement patterns that have contributed to the crisis that we are in. This must change. However, we recognise that it cannot change overnight. While it is critically important that we transform our society we should do so in such a way that we don’t impact the mobility of our citizens or their quality of life. This is why we must work together and make those changes work for everybody.
Limerick Council is a large administration. It is like a big ship, and turning it is not easy, but if we can shift direction a few degrees we will certainly be in a better place in the future.