Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor and General Election candidate John Brady has stated that the decision to increase the Property Tax rate in Wicklow by 15% will hit low and middle income families across Wicklow hardest and impact detrimentally on the economy of Wicklow. Assurances were given by the Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly that Wicklow was one of six local Authorities that could cut the tax by the maximum of 15% without it impacting on local core services.
Speaking after the meeting the Sinn Féin Councillor said “The Labour Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly has given assurances that Wicklow was one of six local authorities that could cut the Local Property Tax by the full 15% which is allowed under the legislation without it impacting on local core services. Having received those assurances, Sinn Féin put forward a proposal to maintain the cut of 15% that had been agreed by the majority of the council last year. Unfortunately the Sinn Féin proposal was defeated by 22 votes to 8, with 2 councillors abstaining. A Fine Gael proposal to increase last year’s property tax rate by 15% was unfortunately supported by Fianna Fáil and a large number of Independents.”
Councillor Brady went onto explain the impact that the decision to increase the tax will have on families across Wicklow “The unfortunate decision to increase the Property Tax in Wicklow will hit struggling low and middle income families right across Wicklow, and potentially push them closer to homelessness. There were 120 house repossessions listed for Wicklow Circuit Court before the summer recess and a further 255 active bills for repossession. This increase in the unjust Property Tax will push many other families in debit, mortgage arrears and compound the financial difficulties they are experiencing.”
“The vast majority of people in Wicklow aren’t witnessing any recovery. The decision by Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Independent pact to increase the tax by 15% will suck a further €2,493,096 from the Wicklow economy which is still on its knees due to government cuts and increased taxes. Over €30 billion was taken out of the Irish economy by the austerity policies of Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail over the last 8 years.”
The Sinn Fein Councillor concluded “The Government duped the people on the Local Property Tax. The purpose of Local Property Tax is not about the funding of local services. The reality is that the local property tax is a tax that was created to aid the process of diverting finances from central government away from the funding of locals councils to the supporting of toxic banks. Sinn Féin remains opposed to this tax which is proving a complicated, regressive and insufficient way of funding our local democracies. Last year the majority of councillors in Wicklow supported a Sinn Féin motion opposing the Property Tax and called on the Government to provide adequate funding to council to provide critical services. Even though the majority of councillors in Wicklow appear to be speaking out of both sides of their mouth on the tax, Sinn Féin in government will abolish the property tax.”