Carmelite Monastery of St Joseph, Kilmacud Road Upper, Blackrock, Co Dublin Google Street View

Carmelite nuns fail to obtain exemption to new land hoarding tax for Dublin monastery

The trustees argued that inclusion of the monastery lands in the Residential Land Zoned Tax “would interfere with the sisters’ way of life”.

AN BORD PLEANÁLA has rejected a plea by the trustees of a south Dublin Carmelite Monastery, which is home to nine Carmelite sisters, that monastery lands there shouldn’t be liable to a new land hoarding tax.

This follows the appeals board upholding a decision by Dun Laoighaire Rathdown County Council that lands at the Carmelite Monastery of St Joseph, Kilmacud Road Upper, Blackrock, Co Dublin be subject to the new Residential Land Zoned Tax (RLZT).

The RLZT annual tax on undeveloped lands is calculated at 3% of the market value of the lands within its scope.

The lands are zoned for residential purposes and the appeals board has included the lands for the annual tax after its inspector, John Duffy concluded that the site is within an established urban area with services available and no capacity or other reasons have been identified that would prevent the development of these lands for residential purposes.

In the appeal against the council decision, the trustees argued that inclusion of the monastery lands in the RZLT “would interfere with the sisters’ way of life” as the grounds are vital to the physical and mental well-being of the residents.

The appeal accepted that the land is zoned for residential use and that the site can be connected to public infrastructure and facilities.

The appeal however pointed out that the monastery is a residential institution, while the lodge on the lands accommodates four people.

The subject lands comprise the Carmelite Monastery complex including the main residential building, a chapel, a lodge, outbuildings, car parking, gardens and a pasture field situated to the east of the monastery buildings.

The appeal stated that the sisters do not leave the site except for exceptional reasons and as such the lands are very important to the residents as they form an integral part of the monastery.

The appeal also stated that since 1888 the sisters have been carrying out a trade from the site, namely the distribution of altar bread sold to churches and communities across the country.

The appeal pointed out that this trade would be subject to commercial rates however the monastery is a registered charity and as such is exempt from payment of rates.

The appeal also pointed out that the site offers refuge to facilitate biodiversity and an assertion by the council that this is not a reason to exclude the lands from the RZLT map is contrary to its own climate action plan.

However, in his assessment, Duffy noted that the business operating from the site does not have the benefit of planning permission and no commercial rates are liable.

Duffy states that as such, it is apparent that the site does not qualify for exclusion under the legislation.

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