Left alliance on Dublin City Council in doubt over local property tax dispute

Labour withdraws from talks over Sinn Féin position on the tax

25/03/2013 News / Archive The  Local Property Tax forms sent out by Revenue  . Photograph: Bryan O'Brien / THE IRISH TIMES

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Each year Dublin City Council has voted to reduce LPT by the maximum amount possible. Photograph: Bryan O'Brien

A potential Dublin City Council left-leaning “power pact” looks in doubt following disagreements over rates of local property tax (LPT).

Party groups and Independents on the council have been in talks since before the weekend in an attempt to form a voting pact with a majority of 32 of the 63 city councillors. These agreements allow the parties to share the annual lord mayor position and chairperson roles for the most popular committees such as housing and transport.

Last time out Fianna Fáil and the Greens came together to form a voting agreement, with Labour and Social Democrats bringing the group to 32.

Sinn Féin councillor Daithí Doolan last week said his party wanted to form a “progressive positive alliance” centred on issues such as housing, transport and environment, and was talking to groups including the Greens, Social Democrats and Labour.


Sinn Féin has nine seats on the council, with Social Democrats on 10, the Green Party on eight and Labour on four, a group of 31, with an Independent left-leaning councillor or People Before Profit needed to tip the group into a majority.

However, the Labour group has withdrawn from negotiations due to the Sinn Féin stance on LPT.

LPT, which is based on the value of a property, has a base rate that can be varied by plus or minus 15 per cent by the council. Dublin City Council has each year voted to reduce it by the maximum amount possible.

Last year, Labour, the Greens and the Social Democrats put forward a motion to charge the full base rate. This motion, which was defeated, would have resulted in higher bills for homeowners but, the parties said, would have resulted in much improved services for Dubliners.

Labour’s Darragh Moriarty said a new alliance on the council could be considered “progressive” only if there was movement on LPT.

“The Labour Party along with the Social Democrats and the Greens on Dublin City Council have argued against maintaining tax cuts for wealthy property owners through the LPT. Since 2015 this policy has gifted away over €125 million that could have been invested in services across the city,” he said.

“It is disappointing to see that the proposals on the table from the ‘progressive alliance’ do not include any change in the status quo to the Local Property Tax, which was vetoed by Sinn Féin in negotiations,” he said “It is disheartening to see the Social Democrats now aligning themselves with the populist rhetoric of Sinn Féin, abandoning their own principles in the process.”

Mr Doolan said his party opposed the LPT, and would continue to vote for the maximum reduction but, he added, Labour had not suggested any amendments to the proposed agreement on power sharing. Sinn Féin would continue talking to other “progressive” councillors, he said.

The Green Party said it was still in talks. Social Democrats negotiators could not be reached on Monday evening. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are understood to be continuing talks with various groups.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times