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Dublin City Hall. Alamy Stock Photo
Dublin City deal

Dubliners to pay higher property tax as new council also pledges new hotel tourist tax

The increased income from higher property tax will be ringfenced for social housing maintenance, street cleaning and a new fund for playgrounds.

FIANNA FÁIL, FINE Gael, Labour, and the Green Party will form a ruling coalition on Dublin City Council that is likely to see local property tax paid by residents of the capital increase, raising an additional €60m for the city over the next five years.

The coalition is also calling for an introduction of a hotel tourist tax.

The Greens and Labour entered talks in recent days to form a left-leaning alliance with the Social Democrats and Sinn Féin, but Labour walked away over Sinn Féin’s insistence on offering Dublin homeowners a 15% discount on their annual property tax bill

Sinn Féin councillor Daithí Doolan criticised the planned increase in property tax which he said would hurt households “struggling with the cost-of-living crisis”.

He criticised Labour leader Ivana Bacik on the party’s decision to join an alliance at local authority level with parties of central government.

The new controlling alliance, which will be supported by some independents, has pledged to set property tax at its base rate for the coming five-year council term. This would mean an increase in property tax because, to date, Dublin City Council has applied the maximum possible reduction in property tax of 15% each year. 

The hike in property tax for Dubliners is not a done deal however, as councillors will get a free vote when the matter is dealt with in September.

The increased income from higher property tax will be ringfenced for social housing maintenance, street cleaning and a new fund for playgrounds. 

Labour councillor Darragh Moriarty said that the agreement on property tax would greatly improve Dublin.

“Over the last ten years, the majority on the Council has voted in favour of Local Property Tax cuts, squandering €125 million that could have been invested in Dublin,” he said.

“For the first time, we will now be able to restore Local Property Tax to its baseline level, meaning we can raise around €60 million over the lifetime of this council term to put directly back into Dublin.”

He also said that Labour councillors regretted that the Social Democrats and Sinn Féin held a different view on property tax but said that “funding vital local services matters more” to Labour than “optics”. 

Hotel Tax

Hotel tax is intended to to be used to raise funds for city services and enable reduced commercial rates for smaller businesses in the capital. 

In January of last year, the outgoing Dublin City Council’s finance committee proposed a 1% hotel tax. The tax was said to have been able to raise up to €12 million at the time, which would have gone towards regenerating the city.

The proposal was criticised by Limerick TD and then junior minister at the Department of of Tourism, Fine Gael’s Patrick O’Donovan.

O’Donovan, speaking on Today with Claire Byrne at the time, said that the council made enough money from property tax and commercial rates.

Tourism taxes are applied in many European cities, including Venice, Manchester, Barcelona and Lisbon. 

New Lord Mayor

At this evening’s annual Dublin City Council meeting, Fine Gael councillor James Geoghegan was elected the 356th Lord Mayor of Dublin.

He beat newly-elected Social Democrats councillor Daniel Ennis to the role with 32 votes to 25, with four abstensions.

Geoghegan, who was first elected in 2019, is the first Fine Gael councillor to be elected as Lord Mayor in 12 years.

Speaking following his election, Geoghegan said he was “honoured and humbled”.

He said his mission as Lord Mayor will be “to reclaim the essence of Dublin so that we can show the world the best of ourselves and the best of what we can be”.

“As Lord Mayor, I promise to treat every member of this chamber equally, and I will ensure that the voice of every person with a democratic mandate in this room is heard,” he said. 

“I will not be afraid of expressing political opinions, and I will not shy away from calling out prejudice of any form, whether based on race, ethnicity, sexuality or gender.”

Green Party councillor Donna Cooney was also elected Deputy Lord Mayor of the city during the meeting. She received 32 votes compared to 28 votes for Sinn Féin councillor Janice Boylan, with two abstentions.

Newly elected far-right councillors Gavin Pepper and Malachy Steenson abstained for both votes.

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