No automatic exemptions on property taxes, says Creighton
NO AUTOMATIC exemptions from property and water taxes should be allowed for pensioners or social welfare recipients, Minister of State for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton has said.
She also said people living in Dublin and other cities should not be discriminated against and “punished for their address” when it came to paying the value-based property tax. Square footage should be taken into account, along with ability to pay.
In an interview with The Irish Times, Ms Creighton argued against a site valuation tax because “people living in houses where you literally cannot swing a cat in Dublin will be paying the bulk of property tax and I don’t think that’s fair”.
She said it would be “ludicrous” if certain categories of people were automatically exempt from the tax to replace the household charge. “I think that’s a very dangerous precedent and it breeds resentment for people who work hard to pay their taxes, to pay their mortgage and will have to work hard to pay their property tax.” Asked which categories of people she was referring to, Ms Creighton said: “Everybody: pensioners, potentially people on social welfare or in social housing. I don’t think that it’s right that anybody should be automatically exempt.
“Of course, if there’s an inability to pay then that’s something that has to be taken into consideration, but I just don’t think that any automatic exemptions for water taxes, for property tax, or for anything else should apply.” She insisted the incoming tax should be linked to a comprehensive programme of local government reform, “because local government in this country is completely ineffectual”.
A debate on abortion could “divide the nation” and should be avoided given the scale of economic difficulties facing the Government, Ms Creighton said.
The Government-appointed expert group on abortion is due to report later this month. Ms Creighton said the Coalition partners diverged on social issues, describing Fine Gael as pro-life and Labour as pro-choice. Abortion would prove “hugely divisive” within Government and political parties.
“But most importantly . . . I think the impact in terms of division of the Irish public is the real thing that I just think is really counterproductive and something that I would not like to see happen,” she said.
“It’s so divisive and potentially explosive. I just don’t see the need to divide the nation on an issue that is so sensitive to so many people . . . It should not be a priority for this Government.