Councillors vote to keep 15% property tax cut in Dublin city

Green Party councillor says tax breaks are being given to millionaires

A public consultation process on the tax rate found more than three-quarters of people wanted city councillors to implement the maximum discount on property tax bills. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

A public consultation process on the tax rate found more than three-quarters of people wanted city councillors to implement the maximum discount on property tax bills. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

 

Dublin city homeowners, the State biggest payers of local property tax (LPT), will see no change to their bills next year, following the decision of city councillors to again reduce the tax rate by 15 per cent.

Despite calls from chief executive Owen Keegan not to cut the rate of LPT paid by the city’s homeowners next year to avoid a €12 million loss in revenues, councillors supported a Fianna Fáil motion to implement the full 15 per cent cut in the LPT rate by 34 votes to 19.

The Green Party, Labour and the Social Democrats voted against cutting the tax.

Councillors have the power to increase or reduce the rate charged in their area by up to 15 per cent each year. Their decision holds for one year only and if no notice of change is given to Revenue by September 30th, the charge reverts to the standard rate.

Green Party councillor Michael Pidgeon said by reducing the LPT rate councillors were giving huge tax breaks to millionaires, no tax reductions to those in social housing or renters, and smaller reductions to average home owners.

Businessman “Dermot Desmond has a house worth €14 million” and would receive a “cut of €5,100 this year” when the reduction is applied, Mr Pidgeon said.

“This is giving pittances to people who own the average house in the city and huge cuts to millionaires.”

‘Blaming others’

Labour councillor Dermot Lacey said the Labour Party was supporting investment in public services. “We can decide to accept our responsibilities or keep on blaming others.”

Garry Gannon of the Social Democrats said his party could not argue for tax cuts while arguing for increases in public services. “It may not make us popular but it won’t make us hypocritical either.”

Green Party councillor Nessa Hourigan said she had been told by other councillors they could not vote against the rate cut because it would make them unelectable in the city.

A public consultation process on the tax rate found more than three-quarters of people wanted city councillors to implement the maximum discount on property tax bills.

Fianna Fáil councillor Deirdre Heney said it was a “very unfair tax pay” on Dubliners.

“People living in Dublin are paying much more for their LPT than people who are living outside.”

Fine Gael councillor Paddy McCartan said: “Until we see 100 per cent of local property tax raised in Dublin spent in Dublin, we are not going to burden the citizens of Dublin.”

In favour

Sinn Féin councillor Séamas McGrattan said the LPT was a “tax on the family home” and his party was in favour of the cut.

The city councillors were the last of the four Dublin local authorities to decide how much property tax to charge householders next year. The three other Dublin local authorities have already determined the 2020 LPT rates.

Earlier this month, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and South Dublin County Council voted to apply the maximum discount of 15 per cent to the rate charged for the coming year, while Fingal County Council voted to apply a 10 per cent discount, the same rate as it applied last year.