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Opposition TDs criticise 'low' number of local property tax exemptions

While 43,000 households were exempted from last year’s household charge, only 5,100 households have been exempted from the local property tax.

FIANNA FAIL TD Michael McGrath and deputy leader of Sinn Fein Mary Lou McDonald have both criticised the “low” number of exemptions to the local property tax.

While 43,000 households were exempted from last year’s household charge, only 5,100 households have been exempted from the local property tax.

During a round of Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil they both argued that the government were out of touch and were being “unfair” to householders who were living in incomplete estates.

Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte, who was taking questions today while the Taoiseach Enda Kenny continues his visit to the US as part of the St Patrick’s Day programme, said the estates were looked at in “great detail” and were “assessed against the criteria”.

Minister Rabbitte added that some estates were worse than others and that “fairness and consistency has to be applied”.

Deputy McDonald retorted that the government were only consistent in “putting hands in people’s pockets” and that a “very broad brush was applied” in levying this tax.

“You have a perverse view of what is fair,” McDonald said. “You have failed the fairness test.”

Minister Rabbitte said he was surprised that Deputy McDonald had a “partitioned mentality” because “only up the road in Newry they have a property tax three times the amount as here”.

Referring to Deputy McGrath, Rabbitte said that “at least the party who authorised the property tax should support it”.

Read: Property tax exemptions now available online >

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Amy Croffey

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