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Finance (Local Property Tax Repeal) Bill 2013 [Private Members]: Second Stage (Resumed)

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Finance (Local Property Tax Repeal) Bill 2013 [Private Members]: Second Stage (Resumed)

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Finance (Local Property Tax Repeal) Bill 2013 [Private Members]: Second Stage (Resumed)

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Snippet Contents:

Like many Deputies, I am amazed but not surprised that Sinn Féin has put a Bill to repeal the property tax before the House. It has been said on a number of occasions that Sinn Féin, in introducing this Bill, is speaking out of both sides of its mouth. Sinn Féin supported a property tax in Northern Ireland but vehemently opposes it in the South where, thankfully, the party is not in government.
The constant Sinn Féin rebuttal to this argument is that the property tax paid in Northern Ireland pays for school transport, refuse collection and some other school services, unlike here where none of these services is covered. That is true, and it is the message Sinn Féin is anxious to convey. However, the cost differential is enormous. In my constituency of Sligo-Leitrim, the average tax band is band 2, which is €224 in a full year. In County Fermanagh, the cost set out by the local council is £790, which is equivalent to €916. For the collection of refuse and the transportation of their children to school the good people of Fermanagh pay almost £700. The reality is that the property tax here is far less than the property tax in Northern Ireland which is defended by Sinn Féin.
The Taoiseach has constantly stated that this Government will not increase personal taxation or, as it is quite correctly described, tax on work. Clearly, this is the alternative. I oppose scrapping this tax, as is suggested. Clearly, we cannot return to the system of the 1980s, when I and many other people paid up to 65 pence in the pound in personal taxation. This country continues to run a current budget deficit of over €1 billion per month. The receipts from the LPT will ensure that the Government has a tax income that corresponds to our property prices, which may rise in prosperous times and remain low during difficult times for our people. This tax presents an opportunity for us to ensure that all users of our services, libraries and public amenities pay something, rather than almost always depending on the PAYE or self-employed sector.