Dublin City Council rejects plan to increase local property tax

Proposal voted down despite warning decision will cost council €12m in lost revenue

Dublin City Council has voted down a proposal to increase the level of the local property tax for 2018 despite a warning that it will starve the council of much needed revenue for services.

The city council has joined Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council in resisting an increase for homeowners, with elected members deciding – by 42 votes to 11 – that the maximum allowable discount of 15 per cent, under local property tax rules, remain in place.

Last week, Fingal County Council broke ranks with the other Dublin authorities and voted in favour of a higher property tax, meaning an extra €2 million will be available for its 2018 budget.

At a special meeting of Dublin City Council on Tuesday evening, the city's chief executive, Owen Keegan, recommended a 10 per cent reduction for householders instead on the maximum 15 per cent. Mr Keegan said the move would increase the tax take for the council by €4 million.


Street cleaners

He said the money could be used to fund services such as the employment of street cleaners and expand services.

The Green Party called for an even lower rebate than the chief executive had recommended. The party's Ciaran Cuffe proposed a reduction of just 7.5 per cent – halving last year's discount.

Mr Cuffe said the move would allow for “spending on services for those most in need”.

Going further still, Labour Party councillor Dermot Lacey proposed a reduction of just 5 per cent for households. He said Labour made no apologies for making provision for public services.

The 5 per cent discount would make €7.9 million available for arts, parks, traffic, footpaths, disability grants and social housing.

Labour's Mary Freehill said if the council was to go with a 15 per cent reduction it would cost €12million and she challenged fellow councillors to "say where you want the cuts".

Sinn Féin’s Daithí Doolan said the problem was that the Government had underfunded local government and he said his party was standing by its commitment to pass on the maximum discount of 15 per cent.

People Before Profit's John Lyons said "the discussion needs to change". He said low- to middle-income families were being hit again without a serious attempt to tax the wealthy. His group was in favour of the maximum discount of 15 per cent.

Cllr Christy Burke (Ind) said he was tired of hearing city management refer to homelessness and the local property tax together. He said the tax never funded measures to tackle homelessness.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist