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Limerick councillors reject motion to cut property tax by 15%

A Fianna Fáil motion to reduce it by 3% was instead approved.

Image: Limerick via Shutterstock

LIMERICK CITY AND COUNTY councillors have rejected a motion proposed by Sinn Féin to cut the local property tax by 15%.

A Fianna Fáil motion to reduce it by 3% was instead approved, with 27 votes to 11. The idea is to reduce the tax by 3% per annum over the next five years, to achieve a total reduction of 15% in that time. However, a motion will have to be voted on each year in order for that to happen.

Sinn Féin councillor Malachy McCreesh said the result today was “disappointing” but said he and his party colleagues had supported the 3% reduction because they wanted to get “at least some respite for people”.

People are trying to say the reduction is minuscule people won’t notice but the people we represent will notice because they’re struggling to survive.

His sentiments were echoed by his colleague Maurice Quinlivan who told TheJournal.ie that it was important for Sinn Féin councillors to support any reduction because one of their election promises was a 15% reduction in the tax.

He said it was “a bit mad” that Fianna Fáil had decided to amend its motion in the middle of the meeting today. The party originally had also tabled a motion for a 15% reduction but dropped it to 3% at the council meeting ahead of the vote.

Fianna Fáil’s Kieran O’Hanlon said he “certainly would have liked to cut it by 15%” but said if this had been done, the council wound have had to cut services in the community.

“I don’t think people are happy with the property tax at all,” he said, adding that he believed the government had placed councils “between a rock and a hard place”.

The motion was supported by all councillors except those who are members of Fine Gael. One of the party’s councillor’s Michael Hourigan, pointed out this evening that the council is in a tough place, as it is currently running a deficit.

“It would put us in a situation where we’d be asking the government for more money and they’d be saying we had it and we gave it away,” he said. He described today’s vote as a “populous gesture”, saying it amounts to “two bags of peanuts”.

It will mean very little per household.

“There were people in there today talking about the inability of people to pay but on the flip side of that coin the same people would be looking for service from the council. You can’t have it both ways,” O’Hanlon added.

Last night, Cork City Council voted to reduce the unpopular tax by 10% and in Louth, the council approved a 15% reduction for 2015. Last week, Clare County Council also voted to reduce its property tax for next year by 15%.

Read: Cork City Council to cut property tax by 10%>

More: Revenue want homeowners to justify property tax valuation if house value has increased>

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