Fianna Fáil Environment Spokesperson Barry Cowen has questioned the sudden eruption of concern about the property tax on the Fine Gael backbenches, when the same Deputies were quick to stifle debate on the Bill when it was forced through the Dáil.
Deputy Cowen commented, “While the new found concerns of certain Fine Gael backbenchers are certainly warranted, these are the same Deputies who were climbing over each other to impress their party leadership last month and vote down Fianna Fáil’s calls for proper debate the property tax legislation.
“These Fine Gael Deputies are of course correct that their Government’s plan to tax the family home is deeply unfair. The Environment Minister Phil Hogan has himself admitted it is unfair, telling Morning Ireland that people on the east coast and in urban areas will be paying the bulk of the tax.
“When the Minister responsible for the property tax publicly recognises the inequalities of his own plan but just shrugs it off, how serious are his party colleagues when they express hope that their concerns will be addressed? It is because of the deep inequalities contained in this legislation that Fianna Fáil sought proper time to debate it in both Houses last month and why we believe that it is the wrong tax at the wrong time. Instead, Fine Gael and Labour insisted on rushing it through before Christmas and will continue to support their Minister throughout the process.”