Councillor bids to cut property tax

Kerry County Council is to "endeavour" to reduce the local property tax, but only if its financial position next year allows.

A motion by Sinn Féin councillor Toiréasa Ferris that the council commit in 2015 to a 15% cut — the maximum permitted in the controversial tax — received mixed reaction at yesterday’s meeting in Tralee.

Sinn Féin’s policy in the local elections was against the tax but Ms Ferris said her party was still committed to reversing the tax — if elected to government.

In the meantime, the aim was to reduce the burden on struggling families.

“It is an unfair, unjust tax that puts the burden on middle and low-income households,” she stated.

Fine Gael councillor Jim Finucane described the motion as “disingenuous and political opportunism”, adding that Sinn Féin politicians were already supporting what amounted to a property tax in the North.

He said he would agree to a reduction in the tax but such a move would have to comply with proper financial management of the council.

“We can’t make a decision on it until we have the figures before us and know what the impact on the council’s services to the people would be.”

Council chairman John Brassil of Fianna Fáil, said it would make no sense to reduce the tax until the effect on the council’s budgetary situation was known.

Ms Ferris did not agree to a compromise suggested by Cllr Brendan Cronin (Ind) that she add a condition to her motion: “Subject to the council’s financial situation at the time of the budget.”

She decided to substitute the word “commit” with “endeavour” to reduce the tax. This was agreed by the council.


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