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There is no rift between this pair over the property tax, the government is insisting. Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland
Everything's fine

Pat Rabbitte: There is no squabble in government about the property tax

The Communications Minister plays down talk of a Cabinet rift over the proceeds from the local property tax.

COMMUNICATIONS MINISTER PAT Rabbitte has moved to play down talk of a government split over the local property tax.

The Minister insisted today that the coalition position on property tax has not changed despite reports today that there is a dispute between Fine Gael and Labour over local authorities reducing property tax rates.

“There is no squabble in government about this issue,” Rabbitte told Fianna Fáil’s Dara Calleary during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil today.

By law councils have the power to lower property tax rates by as much as 15 per cent next year but while Labour is pushing for authorities to cut rates, Fine Gael is said to be keen that council who take more tax use that money to pay for services funded by the exchequer.

Labour TDs have also raised concerns that if a portion of Dublin’s LPT take is being spent elsewhere in the country the capital should not receive proportionately less from central government funding.

Rabbitte explained today: “The situation is as announced in terms of the 80-20 divide and in terms of the variability clause that is there for an individual authorities to make their own decisions.” 

He insisted that the “continues to be in the position and if there are any changes in it they haven’t come to government”.

He said that a planned meeting of the Economic Management Council to discuss the issue didn’t take place because its members – the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and both finance ministers – were unable to attend.

He reiterated there is “no squabble” about the issue and said it would be a matter for councillors “about how they want to operate the variability clause”.

Yesterday the Taoiseach Enda Kenny insisted there is “no big division” between Fine Gael and Labour on the issue, urging Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin to not believe everything he reads in newspapers.

Responding to questions on State board appointments from Sinn Féin’s Jonathan O’Brien, Rabbitte rejected suggestions that people with political allegiances should automatically be disqualified from the process.

Read: Rebel Labour TDs warn of “rip off” over Dublin’s property tax being spent in rural areas

Read: 200,000 homeowners told property tax will be taken from their wages and pensions

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