South Dublin Fianna Fáil Councillor John Lahart has called on the Fine Gael TDs in Dublin who are suddenly concerned about the property tax to explain why they closed down debate on the legislation when it was forced through the Dáil before Christmas.

Cllr. Lahart commented: “I think many homeowners in Dublin will be dismayed by the comments of some TDs who seem to have only now woken up to the impact of the property tax on people who live in the capital.  These Fine Gael deputies are of course correct that their Government’s plan to tax the family home is deeply unfair but why did they support it?

“The legislation on the property tax was rushed through the Dáil after the budget and before Christmas in an effort by the government to shutdown the debate even though the tax is not coming in until the summer.  Dublin homeowners will be expected to pay up to six times more than the owner of an identical house in the country.  For example a 3-bedroom house in south Dublin will be hit with a property tax of over €500 while the same property in Longford for instance expects to pay less than €100.

“Not only are residents in Dublin going to be charged this unfair tax but not all of the money raised in Dublin will be reinvested in services in communities across Dublin as originally promised by the government.  Environment Minister Phil Hogan has himself conceded the property tax is unfair and that homeowners on the east coast and in urban areas will be paying the bulk of the tax.  It is because of the deep inequalities in the legislation that Fianna Fáil sought proper time to debate it and why we believe that it is the wrong tax at the wrong time.”

Cllr. Lahart added: “This tax will hit struggling homeowners at a time when they can least afford it and it takes no account of people’s ability to pay.  The most recent data on residential mortgages shows over 135,000 residential mortgages are in arrears while a survey from the Irish League of Credit Unions shows 1.8 million people have €100 or less at the end of the month after paying essential bills.

“It is deeply cynical for Fine Gael backbenchers in particular to be criticising the impact of legislation they supported in its entirety.  They voted for it despite being warned by Fianna Fáil of the deeply unfair impact on Dublin homeowners.”