City homeowners and taxpayers will lose out big time … says Cllr

by Rose Barrett
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FG Cllr James Geoghegan led the foray at a meeting of Dublin City Council on Monday last following what he sees is a ‘U-turn’ directive by Minister for Housing, Daragh O’Brien TD. 

Last year, government decided that 100% of Property Tax collected locally is to be retained locally within the area where it is collected in 2023. 

“Previously, DCC only retained 80 per cent of the revenue, with 20 per cent of it being spent in other local authorities across the country,” said Cllr Geoghegan, FG group leader on Dublin City Council. 

Following a directive given to DCC last July by Minister O’Brien, which totally goes against last year’s government decision, the Pembroke councillor claims the smaller communities under DCC local authority will be shafted out of serious monies for local projects and services. 

“This is a sleight of hand of the worst sort by the Minister and it needs to change if this government decision is to be honoured,” he said. 

He continued: “For the past five years, 80% of local property tax revenue funded major housing, roads and services within DCC – the council was directed to use circa €30m for its own capital projects 

“Now, the Minister has directed – without explanation – a massive 83 per cent increase – we’ve gone from an average of €30m per annum spend up to €54m, the amount to be spent on existing projects using Dublin Property Tax revenue.” 

Claiming this increase will absolutely wipe out the revenues from LPT which would have been distributed to smaller community projects and service enhancements, he noted: “These are projects that were previously funded by central government grants. Roads, housing, services ate up the €30m and thereafter, the remainder was distributed across smaller projects. 

“The ‘crumbs’ were left over to spend on small community projects and services. Despite the government directive that every local authority should retain 100% of its LPT revenue collected he has now done a costly U-turn, costly for DCC, that is.” 

However, Minister O’Brien’s office stated it is still the case that 100% of property tax collected locally will be retained and spent locally in 2023. 

“The commitment given in the Programme for Government, that the LPT allocation mechanism for 2023 is changed to allow for 100% of the estimated yield to be retained locally within the local authority area where it is collected, has been realised. There is now 100% retention of LPT in the Local Area.” 

A spokesperson for the Minister said it would actually lead “to an increased surplus for those authorities with LPT income above their funding baseline. 

“These authorities shall now retain a greater proportion of that surplus for their own use in 2023; an increase from 20% of the overall yield in 2022 to 22.5% next year. The remainder of the increased surplus will be used to self-fund housing, roads or other services in the local area.” 

The Minister’s office said it was untrue to suggest the 100% of LPT would not be spent on local services in 2023. 

However, Cllr Geoghegan argued that Dublin homeowners and taxpayers will lose out now! 

“Our urbanisations and communities won’t be seeing the benefits in 2023. What the government promised to give back to our capital city with the left hand, the Minister has taken away with his right.” 

At Monday night’s council meeting, Cllr Geoghegan and other FG members councillors submitted an emergency motion calling for a review of this Ministerial direction, and for it to be overturned. 

The Lord Mayor, Cllr Caroline Conroy has agreed following Monday’s successful motion to write to the Minister for Housing to reverse his directive.

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