Vote to retain 15% cut passes

by Aisling Kennedy

DUN Laoghaire-Rathdown councillors voted in favour to maintain the reduction of the local property tax (LPT) by 15% in 2016 at this week’s Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council meeting.
At the meeting, councillors voted unanimously in support of the 15% cut to the LPT, particularly because Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown pays one of the highest rates of the charge in Ireland.
In 2015, a 15% reduction in the LPT was implemented, but Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown still paid an estimated €43m in the charge.
The knock-on effect of reducing the LPT tax, however, may mean that funding for social housing may be jeopardised, and local councillors were conflicted on how they viewed a solution for the current lack of social housing in the area.
Cllr Pat Hand (FG) said: “I support the 15% cut for the property tax, as we in Dun Laoghaire are one of the highest [hit local authorities] in the country.”
He added: “As regards the social housing, we will have to wait and see what the local government fund is.”
Cllr Shane O’Brien (SF), who proposed the motion to maintain the LPT cut, said: “Anything other than decreasing it this year would be an increase for people in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown. We cannot be increasing taxes and charges for people now who are still struggling following seven years of austerity.”
He added: “Enough zoned and serviced land for housing exists within Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown – we just need the political will to recommit to the ideals and principles of social housing and start an extensive building programme to deliver the homes which are desperately needed for thousands of families across the region.”
Cllr John Bailey (FG), who is also the chair of the housing committee at the council, said that he too supported the 15% reduction, and added: “We have been given €60m over three years for housing in Dun Laoghaire and we’re aggressively working on Part 8s [planning-related procedures] and various other things to fast-forward this. We’re working as hard as we can to fast-forward housing and to address the issues.”
Councillor Barry Saul (FG) said he supported the reduction of the LPT by 15%, said: “However, it still remains that this is an unjust tax which effects Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown residents disproportionately.
“Out of every €500 paid in the property tax, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council is left with just €25 extra to spend on discretionary local services.”

Cllr Lettie McCarthy (Lab) said: “I am fully supportive of the 15% LPT reduction and don’t for one minute believe people living in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown area should be asked to pay more than our country cousins. Your house is your home.”
Cllr Melisa Halpin (PBP) told The Gazette that she also voted in favour of reducing the tax by 15%, but said: “The LPT is an unfair tax that takes no account of the income of the household. We voted in favour of reducing the tax, but that does not make the tax more fair.”

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