Dublin city councillors reject Keegan’s call to increase property tax

City councillors vote to retain 2022 rates despite warnings of €50 million funding gap

Dublin city homeowners will face no change to their property tax bills next year, despite warnings from council chief executive Owen Keegan of a €46-€50 million hole in the authority’s finances.

Mr Keegan had asked councillors to increase the amount of local property tax (LPT) Dublin city homeowners pay by 30 per cent to plug a funding gap of up to €50 million which he said was due to increasing demands for services, pay inflation, energy and general inflation, and “the primary objective of continuing with the current level of service provision”.

The increase proposed by Mr Keegan would have seen three-quarters of Dublin homeowners paying up to €122 more a year, with the remaining households, whose homes are worth more than €437,500, paying more.

He said he fully acknowledged the impact of historically high inflation.


“However, the need for additional resources has never been more pertinent in terms of the absolute requirement for additional funding to support services, in contrast to the recognised small but real impact on householders of the change.”

Councillors have the power to increase or reduce the rate charged in their area by up to 15 per cent each year from the basic rate, which is calculated based on the value of a property.

Since the introduction of the tax in 2013, Dublin city councillors have always voted for the maximum 15 per cent discount, with many arguing the tax was “unfair” on Dubliners because of an equalisation measure which saw 20 per cent of the tax collected in the city reallocated to poorer, largely rural local authorities.

However, next year, for the first time, 100 per cent of the tax will be retained in the local authority area where it is collected.

Fine Gael councillor James Geoghegan said this decision was “not being honoured” by Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien, who was reducing other funds allocated to the city.

“What the Government promised to give back to our capital city with their left hand, the Minister has taken with his right.”

Fianna Fáil councillor Deirdre Heney said the LPT remained an “unfair tax on Dubliners who have to pay more in property tax than other counties because of where we live”.

She said Fianna Fáil councillors were “disappointed” by the decision of their party colleague Mr O’Brien to cut grants to the council by “an equivalent amount as that which is being accrued by the abolition of the LPT equalisation fund”.

Sinn Féin, People Before Profit and Independent councillors also voted to retain the 15 per cent cut, with the Green Party, Labour and Social Democrats supporting a return to the national base rate.

Green Party councillor Janet Horner noted that Fine Gael Minister of State Peter Burke had urged city councillors to increase the rate of the tax to improve the lives of Dubliners. It was, she said, “reckless” to be heading into a city budgetary process with reduced funding in the light of inflationary pressures and that there was a “tough winter ahead”.

Labour councillor Dermot Lacey said the Fine Gael position was “quite extraordinary” and that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil were “playing games” with Dubliners. Councillors voted by a margin of 38 to 23 to retain the 15 per cent cut.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times