Fine Gael wants to let you change your street’s name

Party proposes vote for residents in local election manifesto

Fiach Kelly reports from the launch of the Fine Gael local election manifesto. The party is running 458 candidates, and Taoiseach and party leader Enda Kenny hopes that 350 can be successful. Video: Bryan O'Brien

Thu, May 1, 2014, 15:55

Fine Gael will allow residents to change the name of their street or estate if a “simple majority” of registered voters on the street agree to do so.

The party’s local election manifesto says the “naming of estates and roads has become an issue for many homeowners in recent years” and has proposals about how changes can be made.

“In the spirit of devolution, the Minister for Environment will introduce new regulations as part of ongoing local government reforms to make it easier for residents to change the name of a street or locality by a simple majority of the registered electors,” it says.

Fine Gael also says its councillors will cut the property tax where possible and will support schemes to allow tenants in local authority homes to buy their houses.

The party launched its local election manifesto this morning, and its key elements are a promise not to increase the property tax and to decrease it where possible, such as in councils with high commercial rates bases in urban areas.

It also says it will not increase commercial rates and will reduce them where possible, and Fine Gael councillors will support selling “social housing to tenants at an attractive discount”.

The level of discounts will be decided by councils, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said. The Cabinet discussed a tenant purchase scheme at its meeting yesterday, and Fine Gael says its councillors “will ensure that your council avails of and robustly implements” this deal.

This scheme will be linked to household income, with the highest discount available to those families in the lowest income band who can sustain a mortgage payment. It will also be structured to “discourage the sale of the property in the years following the purchase by the tenant”.

Mr Kenny said Fine Gael is running 458 local candidates, and he hopes that 350 can be successful.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan also told the manifesto launch he will change the tax bands in the October budget to move more middle income earners out of the higher rate, as he had indicated previously.