Fianna Fáil’s Environment Spokesperson Barry Cowen has said the Government cannot continue to rely on bogus claims that the Troika is forcing a property tax on Irish homeowners.
Deputy Cowen said, “Let’s be completely clear about this – no one is forcing Fine Gael and Labour to hit homeowners with property taxes. The Government’s attempts to shift blame onto the Troika, the previous Government or anyone else are nothing more than a smoke and mirrors tactic to distract from what is their own policy decision.
“A Fianna Fáil delegation met with Troika officials again last month and they could not have been clearer that property taxes are not necessary if we reach our overall savings targets. Their principle concern is the bottom line. It is up to the Government to chose what policies to implement to reach this bottom line.
“The Government needs to take a step back instead of blindly continuing down this road without considering the massive impact on homeowners at a time of a deepening mortgage crisis. A property tax based on market value discriminates heavily against city dwellers and particularly those in Dublin. It makes no consideration whatsoever of ability to pay. What about a homeowner in Rathfarnham, for example, whose house is worth €400,000 but who is in negative equity, struggling to meet mortgage repayments and has already paid stamp duty? Will they be forced to pay out an extra €800 a year in property taxes?
“Fianna Fáil has produced a fully costed alternative budget which proves that property taxes are not necessary to meet the overall adjustment of €3.5 billion. The reality is that this is the wrong tax at the wrong time. The Government needs to tackle the escalating mortgage crisis before slapping additional hefty bills on hard-pressed families who cannot pay their basic bills as it is.”