The challenge facing the Government is to ensure the new property tax is fair, Tipperary Fine Gael Deputy Tom Hayes told the Dáil. Speaking during a debate on the Bill which introduces the tax, he said in opposition in 1977, Fianna Fáil promised to abolish rates because it wanted to be popular. Nothing had changed in those years since 1977. Fianna Fáil, again in opposition, is against the local property tax.
“I have come across many people with mortgage and other financial difficulties,” he said. “In his opening statement, the Minister for Finance, Deputy Noonan, said he was considering some of those people. I am not sure that enough of them are covered.”
When people are paying a local charge it should be transparent, such that the work that needs to be done in these areas is seen to be done, he said.
“We should be able to look back on an annual basis and verify that local authorities are doing the work required, whether it be on roads, houses, footpaths or lights,” he added. “Local area services need to improve now that we are introducing a tax. I call on the Government - whether it is the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government or the Minister for Finance - to ensure that services improve. People do not mind paying for something if the service is improved. I ask that such a provision be included and that we review it on an annual basis.”