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Seanad passes social welfare and property tax bills

Both pieces of legislation will now go to President Michael D Higgins to be signed into law.

THE SEANAD HAS has voted and passed both the Social Welfare Bill and the Local Property Tax Bill in the final votes on the two pieces of legislation.

The Social Welfare Bill passed with a close vote of 29 to  27 while the Local Property Tax Bill passed by a margin of 33 votes to 16.

In a debate before the Social Welfare Bill, which includes cuts to the Respite Care Grant and child benefit as well as an increase in PRSI contributions, Senator Sean Barrett said the cut to respite care payments marked a new low for the government.

Commenting on the introduction of the property tax, Senator Mark Daly said ability to pay should be based on how much a person earns and not how much their house is worth.

“We’re not taking into account whether people have lost their jobs since they purchased their property; all those issues come into ability to pay,” he said.

Michael Noonan said it was important that the Bill be enacted quickly in the new year so that Revenue has time to establish the mechanisms to collect the tax.

Both pieces of legislation will now go to President Michael D Higgins to be signed into law.

Related: Social Welfare Bill passes committee stage in Seanad by three votes>

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