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Dublin city councillors vote to cut property tax by 15%

Dublin city councillors vote to cut property tax by 15%

Dublin city councillors have again voted to reduce the annual local property tax by 15% – the maximum amount allowable.

The elected councillors refused to accept the advice of management who pointed out this will mean €12m less for public services at a time when the council is facing increasing costs.

The vote will mean that a homeowner in a house valued in 2013 at between €200,000 and €250,000 will pay €60.75 less a year.

Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Sinn Féin, People Before Profit and members of the Independent group voted for the reduction while Labour, Social Democrats and Greens voted to keep it at its basis rate.

The cut was approved by 34 in favour, 19 against and one abstention.

A council report from Chief Executive, Owen Keegan, stated that the council is facing increased costs for capital projects and restoration of void housing units because of funding changes by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

A new system of valuation for Irish Water rates could mean the loss of €8.9m; national pay awards will cost another €10.42m; there are €46m in outstanding insurance claims; the HSE is reportedly underpaying for ambulance services by €4m a year; and there are increased management costs for social housing units.

Leader of the Fianna Fáil group, Cllr Deirdre Heney, said it was an unfair tax as Dublin people have to pay more than those elsewhere just for where they live.

Cllr Paddy McCartan of Fine Gael said that with equalisation, 20% goes to subsidise other less well-of councils while 16,000 households in Dublin city who live in homes built since 2013 do not pay anything because there has not been any new valuation.

Cllr Seamus McGrattan of Sinn Féin said his party had always opposed the tax which he said is a tax on the family home.

However Cllr Michael Pidgeon of the Greens said the reduction would mean nothing to someone who is homeless and a pittance to those in an average home while financier Dermot Desmond would get a reduction of €5,100 and at the same time the city has less money for services.

Dermot Lacey of Labour said the choice was between public services and populism and Labour was voting for public services.

A survey carried out by council management found that 78% of members of the public were in favour of the reduction.

However the report stated that with a response rate of 0.005%, this may not be representative.

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