Sinn Féin says it would repeal property tax in government

Party to move Dáil Bill in Private Member’s time

Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty yesterday launched the Finance (Local Property Tax Repeal) Bill 2013, repealing the tax, which will be introduced in in the Dáil today and debated in the party’s Private Member’s time in the coming weeks.  Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty yesterday launched the Finance (Local Property Tax Repeal) Bill 2013, repealing the tax, which will be introduced in in the Dáil today and debated in the party’s Private Member’s time in the coming weeks. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Mon, Mar 25, 2013, 22:10

Sinn Féin has said it will abolish the property tax and refund those who paid the household charge if it is in government after the next general election.

Party finance spokesman Pearse Doherty yesterday launched the Finance (Local Property Tax Repeal) Bill 2013, repealing the tax, which will be introduced in in the Dáil today and debated in the party’s Private Member’s time in the coming weeks.

“This Bill is a key part of Sinn Féin’s alternative to austerity for lower and middle income families,’’ he said. “These families have borne the brunt of an austerity budget under Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael-Labour and they need a break.’’

Mr Doherty, who was was speaking at a Dublin press conference attended by party leader Gerry Adams, deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald and Meath East byelection candidate Darren O’Rourke, said Sinn Féin had pointed out a wide range of alternatives to the tax as a way of raising revenue.

Those included, he said, the introduction of a wealth tax of 1 per cent on assets above €1 million, which could potentially yield €800 million, and a third rate of tax on those earning over €100,000, bringing in €365 million.

“We also have a proposal to standardisde discretionary tax reliefs, bringing in over €900 million, or a 5 per cent levy on gambling which would bring in over a quarter million euro,’’ he added.

Mr Doherty said the method used for the collection of the new tax was brutal, with the Government prepared to raid salaries, social welfare payments and pensions.

“We know the reality that one in four mortgages are in distress, yet these same households who may be in negative equity and have paid stamp duty, now face this extra tax,’’ he added. “That is blatantly unfair.’’

Mr O’Rourke said the issue was very much to the fore in the byelection campaign, adding that people could not afford to pay the tax. He said it was very unfair that those living in unfinished housing estates had to pay the tax.