Coalition TDs attack ‘unfair’ tax on property

Coalition TDs have said the property tax is unfair and anti-urban, with Fine Gael politicians saying the planned levy was a danger to social cohesion and could lead to revolt.

Members from both Fine Gael and Labour yesterday were vocal in their concern about the valuation tax on homes, which will be rolled out next year.

Several from south Dublin did not hold back when telling Michael Noonan, the finance minister, about why the tax was wrong.

But Mr Noonan laid legislation for the tax before the Dáil and revealed he would have had to hike up income tax and cut services and jobs if the property tax was not introduced. However, Mr Noonan indicated that householders with homes suffering from pyritic heave will receive a waiver from the Local Property Tax. An estimated 10,000 homes are believed to have the structurally damaging mineral in their foundation.

Dublin South East TD Eoghan Murphy said the introduction of the tax was wrong and a “danger to social cohesion”. He said the “mansion tax”, a higher rate of the levy for homes valued over €1m, was unfair.

Constituency colleague, Labour TD Kevin Humphreys, said wealthier areas would subsidise others. The Government has said that the tax collected will be redirected into services and local authorities will have a discretion to vary it by 15%.

Mr Humphreys said the tax should not be seen as anti-Dublin or anti-Cork and it was hard to explain to his voters why they would pay more than someone in a mansion in Leitrim.

Fellow party TD Robert Dowds said there were huge gaps between the tax in urban and rural areas which was not fair.

Fine Gael’s Olivia Mitchell deemed the property tax “a gross injustice” to people in Dublin.

She warned that a homeowner in south Dublin would pay five times the amount of tax compared to someone in Donegal, even though services in the area cost the same. “This is quite simply unconscionable and people will not accept it,” said Ms Mitchell.

She said the tax would be completely unacceptable and impossible to sustain over any length of time and that when people realised the funds were going to non-Dublin councils she would not be surprised if there was “revolt”.

But despite the protestations by Coalition TDs, they voted in favour of the tax in the Dáil last night. It will be debated further next week in the Seanad


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