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Dublin: 12 °C Saturday 7 December, 2019
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It's through: Dublin City Council budget passes after filling €15 million shortfall

Commercial rates and social housing costs rise as parties call for a meeting with Minister Simon Coveney.

Dublin City Hall
Dublin City Hall

DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL has passed a controversial budget this evening despite claims from councillors who said it doesn’t do enough to address the housing crisis.

The new draft budget, which was voted through at City Hall this evening, includes plans to build 1,500 new homes in the capital, of which 450 are designated for social housing.

Other measures include increasing rates for commercial tenants and charging those in social housing an extra €104 annually to maintain their boilers.

It also emerged this evening that €48 million of property tax paid by Dubliners had been sent to councils outside of the capital.

The budget was passed by the controlling parties on the council; Labour, Sinn Féin and some independents.

TheJournal.ie last week reported that €15 million needed to be found by DCC if they were to balance their books.

There has been anger from those in the council who say the budget does not go anywhere near addressing the housing and homeless crises affecting the capital.

Anger

A number of councillors also took aim at Housing Minister Simon Coveney after money collected in Dublin from the property tax was outsourced to other local authorities.

Fianna Fáíl’s Daithí De Roiste said Coveney needs to sort out the allocation of property tax funding.

Bord Na Mona. Picture Conor McCabe Photography Fianna Fáil's Daithí De Roiste Source: Conor McCabe

He said: ” The budget is being put together in a vacuum. There’s no commitments from national government. We’re being asked to pass a budget that has huge holes in it. 1,500 houses to be delivered of which 30% will be social.

This simply is not good enough for the citizens of the city.

“We are papering over the cracks. We propose to put this back in Minister Coveney’s corner for him to come up with realistic and firm commitments.

“We are being asked to make up €15 million.

If Fine Gael weren’t sending it around the country, money that is coming from the pockets of Dubliners and sending it to fund other councils, it would be better. But it’s not good enough.

Rates

However, members many councillors believed the budget to be fair.

Independent Ruairí McGinley said: “I believe this budget is value for money for tenants. We’ve also increased the commercial rates but that again is a moderate proposal on the various demands for the needs of the city.

The era of rates reducing year-on-year is over for the foreseeable future

“We need to try and achieve moderate increases where we can.”

Labour’s Dermot Lacey added: “This is a budget which protects people on lower incomes all at a very mild modest increase. So I’m happy it is reasonable and right. Housing is our biggest crisis. We have to start to fight back for Dublin and we are happy to support the budget.”

Despite welcoming the passage of the budget, Sinn Féin’s Noeleen Reilly agreed that the €48 million in property tax payments should remain in the capital for basic services.

She added: “ The Local Property Tax which has essentially become a tax on Dublin people and a way for the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government to renege on their responsibilities to fund local government.

They are taking a handful of pie with one hand and throwing crumbs at us with the other.

 

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