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12/18/2012 12:00:00 AM


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Healy-Rae, Michael

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Finance (Local Property Tax) Bill 2012: Committee Stage (Resumed) and Remaining Stages

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Finance (Local Property Tax) Bill 2012: Committee Stage (Resumed) and Remaining Stages

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Finance (Local Property Tax) Bill 2012: Committee Stage (Resumed) and Remaining Stages

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Deputy Michael Healy-Rae

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Snippet Contents:

We were doing fine until the Minister made his contribution. It was a colourful contribution. However, he totally dismissed what was said by Members on this side of the House, and that was wrong. That is not a fair way to operate when people make sensible, grounded proposals and when they articulate opinions on behalf of the people with whom they deal every day. I support the amendment proposed by Deputy Doherty.
The Minister omitted something which I hope he will discuss when he replies, and not ignore the people concerned. I and my colleagues spoke about young couples. How many times did the Minister hear the words "young couples" and "struggling young couples" from this side of the House? He completely ignored the issue in his contribution. While other Members heckled him, I did not because I was anxious to hear if he would mention young struggling couples. Does he have a concept of what is a young struggling couple? If he does, he ignored them in his contribution. As Minister for Finance, he was wrong to do so. These people are looking to the Minister and at what he says each day. They are hoping that he will help them.
I appreciate the Minister's endeavours in the past but it is not fair, right or proper to burden such young couples with a property tax at this time. It also worries me. Given that the Minister chose to omit these young couples, I wonder if he is less tuned in than Deputy Bannon was in his contribution. I am dealing with them and so are all other Members. We are here to speak up for them tonight. That is our job. If I returned to Kerry without having articulated my views on behalf of these people, I would be wrong. They must be visiting the Minister's clinics too, if he is holding such clinics and is in charge of his constituency. Perhaps as a Minister he is not, but considering his track record I believe he is. He must be hearing the horror stories from young couples. They simply cannot pay. Deputy McGrath correctly spoke about capacity to pay. However, there is ability and capacity, and the couples on whose behalf we are speaking have neither the ability nor the capacity to pay this tax.
Ultimately, they will be faced with a choice, whether to pay their mortgages or the property tax to the Government. If they do not pay the tax, the Revenue Commissioners will pursue them.