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Senator says government should shelve property tax proposal

Fianna Fáil Senator Darragh O’Brien described the household charge as a “disaster” and said it is not the right time to put in place a new property tax system.

Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

FIANNA FÁIL SENATOR Darragh O’Brien today hit out at “the government’s mishandling” of the property tax issue. O’Brien called on the ruling parties to “shelve the proposal until concrete steps are taken to ease the country’s mortgage arears crisis and we see jobs and economic growth returned”.

Earlier today the Department of Finance said it will be up to the Revenue Commissioners, and not ministers, to decide how the forthcoming property tax is paid.

However it will remain up to the Cabinet to decide whether the controversial tax will be levied based on the value of someone’s property, the value of the land their house is built on, or charged on a flat-rate uniform basis.

O’Brien said the government have “made an utter mess of the property tax issue from day one”. He described the initial household charge as a “disaster” with almost 40 per cent of the population unable or unwilling to pay the €100 charge.

The Senator said it is “anyone’s guess” how the government judged this as the right time to put a new property tax system in place as people deal with cuts and the mortgage arrears crisis. He said:

When 40 per cent of the country cannot or will not pay €100, how many of them are likely to agree to €800 or €900? We have a huge section of the population in this country on middle incomes who are squeezed to breaking point and something has got to give.

O’Brien said a more realistic and common sense approach is needed and called on the government to go back to the drawing board.

“The Government needs to prioritise efforts to address the mortgage arrears crisis first and get people back to work before introducing any new charges on people’s homes,” he added.

A department spokesperson said today that no final decision has been made by the government on the tax.

Read: Department: Up to Revenue to decide how property tax is paid>

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