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Sunday 8 December 2019

'Dublin property tax spent outside of city isn't fair' - Fitzpatrick

Fine Gael councillor Mary Fitzpatrick wants system shake-up
Fine Gael councillor Mary Fitzpatrick wants system shake-up

A city councillor has said "it's not fair" that funds raised from property tax in the capital are spent in other constituencies.

Speaking on RTE Radio 1's Today with Sean O'Rourke, Fianna Fail's Mary Fitzpatrick talked about how the newly- elected Dublin City Council (DCC) voted to retain and spend all revenue collected from the local property tax (LPT).

Revenue

Cash-rich councils are legally required to give 20pc of revenue raised through the tax to an equalisation fund which is then allocated to less well-off local authorities.

"Repeatedly over the last number of years, homeowners in Dublin feel that they have paid more and more in terms of LPT and received what they perceive to be less services," said Ms Fitzpatrick.

"We believe the citizens of Dublin are willing to pay their LPT and they have a high adherence to the payment of the LPT, but they are looking for a fair deal in return and they are looking for quality services. It's a reasonable request."

Last year, DCC gave more than €15m to the equalisation fund, which is operated by the Department of Housing.

"When €90m is being paid in Dublin city, by the homeowners in the city in terms of LPT, they deserve a lot more than the €4m net increase the city council receive," said Ms Fitzpatrick.

"It's not fair for the Government to expect us to collect the funds from homeowners around Dublin but then not give us the money to spend.

Also speaking on Today was Fine Gael Minister of State at the Department of Finance Patrick O'Donovan, who said: "The whole concept of LPT was to make sure that local author- ities, all local authorities, would have access to funds so that they would be able to provide services to the people in their areas."

On Tuesday, the decision to seek to retain the funding was taken by a group of councillors from Fianna Fail, the Labour Party, the Green Party and the Social Democrats who now control Dublin City Council.

Ms Fitzpatrick has been selected on behalf of her party to oversee the full implementation of the commitments outlined in the Dublin City Agreement 2019-2024.

Blossom

She said its aim is to "progress a vision for a more sustainable capital, to blossom into the major European city that Dublin has every potential to be".

"Specifically, we will champion action on climate change, improving the current crisis in housing, strengthening our transport infrastructure, contributing to communities, nurturing culture, governance, re-establishing municipal-led waste management and simplifying the planning process, she said.

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