Council votes against further cuts to property tax

Limerick County Council meet for the last time after 115 years in existence
Limerick City and County Council chamber in Dooradoyle
Limerick City and County Council chamber in Dooradoyle

LOCAL authority representatives in the city and county have voted against reducing the Local Property Tax (LPT) rate in Limerick by the maximum amount of 15 per cent.

At the full meeting of Limerick City and County Council on Monday, Sinn Féin comhairleoir Séighin Ó Ceallaigh tabled a motion calling on the council to impose a reduction of 15 per cent, noting that his party “stood on the election promise that we would seek to reduce the Local Property Tax by the maximum 15 per cent”.

He said he found the tax “very unfair” on people living in estates that have not been taken in charge by the council, and that council tenants “are forced to pay a tax that is meant for owners”.

His party colleague Cllr Seamus Browne seconded the motion and added: “I don’t think 15 per cent is enough, but it’s all that’s allowed today.”

A majority of 28 council members voted against Cmhlr Ó Ceallaigh’s motion, with just nine voting in favour.

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Council chief executive Conn Murray told the meeting that a reduction of 15 per cent would amount to more than €2.32 million, and that such a reduction “would have a very significant impact on services”.

Labour councillor Joe Leddin commented: “You would be forgiven for thinking you were listening to parties on the far right rather than the far left. I see new homes being built, new schools, playgrounds, homeless centres, an extension at the hospital, things are happening in this city.

“It’s political rhetoric and populist rhetoric for Sinn Féin to propose a reduction of 15 per cent when they don’t have to find it and identify what services are going to have to be cut.”

Anti Austerity Alliance councillor Cian Prendiville slammed the tax as “highway robbery” and said his party would continue to fight for its abolition.

He added: “This tax has taken more than €15 million off workers and the unemployed in Limerick, money that was taken under duress and in many cases robbed from people’s wages and welfare without their consent. Limerick council has the ability to return 15 per cent of that stolen money, but refused to do this.

“Every councillor that voted against this is now complicit in that robbery. This is particularly treacherous in particular from Fianna Fáil, who had promised in the local elections to support a 15 per cent reduction.”