Noonan accuses TDs of hypocrisy over property tax
on 02/03/2013 00:00:00
Among them was James Bannon - who owns an apartment in Spain - who told yesterday's Dáil debate that the property tax was not justified.
The Longford TD said: "Property taxes, household charges, water charges, and licences for televisions that people may or may not have are the new face of stealth tax in Ireland. I say this as a Government representative who resisted the imposition of one stealth tax after another by the previous administration.
"My conviction that such a burden, disguised in whatever format, is not justified remains the same."
Dublin South TD, Olivia Mitchell, said she was not opposed to the tax, but expressed "deep unhappiness" with the method of calculation. The TD, who owns a share in a property in Spain said: "Like many of my colleagues in urban Ireland, I believe the proposed regime is unfair to Dubliners and, to a lesser extent, Cork dwellers and those who live in other cities.
"It is an unsustainable tax. It cannot survive the test of time in its current form."
Her colleague, Peter Matthews, said an emergency budget was needed to abolish the tax and replace it with revenue raising exercises such as a 2.5% levy on corporation profits, a betting tax, and a levy on income over €120,000.
"We could dare to be courageous and bring in a supplementary budget that would park the property tax and bring in three other strands of revenue," he said. "It's a daring thought but it could be worth it."
Mr Noonan said there was a property tax in many other European countries. "And there are many deputies in this House, who are objecting to this particular piece of legislation, and they have properties abroad on which they quite willingly assign their cheques to pay their property tax to the Spanish authorities and the French authorities."
Without naming names, he said: "There is a level of hypocrisy around here which can be astounding at times."
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, who is strongly opposed to the tax, has a holiday home in Donegal. A handful of TDs have properties on the continent.
Homeowners will begin receiving letters from the Revenue Commissioners on Mar 11 with a property tax guide and return form.
Homeowners in a debt settlement or personal insolvency arrangement may qualify for a deferral for the duration of that agreement.
And householders whose homes are affected by pyrite will be exempt from the tax, the minister said as he introduced amending legislation to the Finance Local Property Tax Act.
Michael McGrath, Fianna Fáil finance spokesman, said neither Fine Gael nor Labour had a mandate from the electorate to introduce a property tax because both had campaigned in the general election against such a tax.
The Independent TD, Catherine Murphy, said the tax was being imposed solely to fund the national debt and would not provide any further services.