Fianna Fáil’s Housing Spokesperson, Darragh O’Brien TD has hit out at Government this week for voting against the Management Fees (Local Property Tax) Relief Bill 2018 is aimed at giving homeowners who are paying on the double through property tax and management fees some relief.
The Bill will provide homeowners who are already paying management fees with a reduction in their Property Tax bill worth a third of the fee, up to a maximum of €300 per year.
O’Brien said, “When the Local Property Tax was first devised it was intended that it would solely fund maintenance services in residential developments but despite this, tens of thousands of homeowners nationwide have been also slapped with management fees to provide the very same services. Essentially, they are being charged on the double.
“Relieving homeowners and easing the burden of paying both Local Property Tax and management fees to deliver the same services, is a priority for our party. We introduced this Bill believing that both Fine Gael and Labour would wish to support the same and bring about an end to poor practice but sadly they have shown their true colours. It is a big relief that thankfully our Bill was passed through the Dáil at Second Stage regardless.
“Let no Fine Gael or Labour representative try tell you that they understand or respect the pressure households are under to keep all expenses covered. They had a prime opportunity when voting on our Bill to ease the financial pressure but instead one chose to abstain and the other to vote against it.
“Now to it has been confirmed that neither party are remotely interested in reforming the Local Property Tax system to make it gradually more fair and equitable, we are more determined than ever to see this legislation pass all stages of the Oireachtas,” he concluded.
Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin Fingal and Spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government, Darragh O’Brien has criticized Government over its lack of costings that will be incurred in planning for the Greater Dublin Drainage Project at Clonshaugh in North County Dublin.
O’Brien quizzed the Minister on the matter in Dáil Éireann this week, he said, “The prospect of the Greater Dublin Drainage Project being developed precisely as proposed has deeply frustrated people locally over the past number years so it is no wonder that there have been over 14,000 submissions through its public consultation process.
“According to the plans that have been submitted to An Bord Pleanála, sewage will only be treated to the minimum secondary level but surely it makes more proactive sense to ensure the highest levels of modern treatment are applied.
“When I met with Irish Water in June I was assured that the focus of priority was on continuing to upgrade the Ringsend facility by introducing new technologies and increasing its capacity. If that is the case then a series of localised plants are more suitable than the one giant sewage orbital development that has been planned for the North County. This is a project that if completed as proposed, would be four times the size of Croke Park and I do not believe that Fingal should have to bear the brunt of that.
“This isn’t a discussion about the difference of a couple of thousand here or there in taxpayer’s money; this project involves hundreds of millions of euro. I have asked successive Minister’s to carry out a cost-benefit analysis on this plant and repeatedly assured that it would be conducted. Yet years on, it appears one is not available.
“Just this month we learned of the chaos that is the National Children’s Hospital overspend - why is this Government incapable of properly keeping tabs on large capital projects? Irrespective of the construction is permitted to proceed; the State must have a full handle of the costs associated with its plans. That would surely be in line with prudent spending.
“My Dáil colleague in Dublin Bay North, Sean Haughey as well as Dublin Councillors, Eoghan O'Brien and Seán Paul Mahon collectively support An Bord Pleanála’s decision to facilitate an oral hearing on March 20th next. It would be useful however, if we had some idea of spending to date in order to inform residents ahead of the hearing.
“No one, not even the Minister or his Department are in the position to confirm or even estimate how much public money has been spent on this project to date. It is my responsibility as a local elected representative to ensure that there is full transparency in the spending related to this project and I will be ensuring that the Dáil should receive details on the cost..
He concluded, “I remain absolutely opposed to a development of this scale and I strongly believe that the Government should go back and examine its proposal in closer detail.”
- Bill aims to relieve homeowners who are paying Local Property Tax and management fees to deliver the same services -
Fianna Fáil will be using its Private Members Business time this week to debate its Management Fees (Local Property Tax) Relief Bill 2018 which was introduced in the Dáil last June.
The Bill provides homeowners who are already paying management fees with a reduction in their Property Tax bill worth a third of the fee, up to a maximum of €300 per year.
Commenting ahead of the debate which will take place this evening, the party’s Housing Spokesperson, Darragh O’Brien TD said, “The Local Property Tax, which came into effect in 2013, was intended to fund services in residential developments such as maintaining public lighting, roads and paths and/or grounds keeping.
“There are more than 200,000 apartments and tens of thousands of other homes nationwide whose owners all fork out management fees to service the property. In the six or so years since the introduction of the tax, it has transpired that these management fees are also going towards the same services as LPT, which means some homeowners have been liable for paying twice for the same services.
“We believe that this should be acknowledged by the State and to that end we propose a partial reduction in the LPT that equates to one third of the management fee, one third of the local property tax, or €300, whichever is the lower amount. Under our proposed legislation, no one will benefit from more than €300.
“We remain committed to ensuring there is no increase in the Local Property Tax and that a fairer, more equitable system is put in place when the review of current rate is finalised and its report published in the coming weeks,” he concluded.
Responding to the latest figures published on the number of social housing units built nationwide in the final quarter of 2018, Fianna Fáil’s Housing Spokesperson, Darragh O’Brien TD said, “Despite the flashy launches, the glossy document and regular announcements, the targets set out in RebuildingIreland have not been realised.
“The fact is that even though 4,251 public homes were constructed by Local Authorities and approved housing bodies last year the Government couldn’t achieve its promises. Even with 2,214 acquisitions the Minister missed his own target.
“These promises, clearly made in exchange for headlines, represented a great deal of hope to those on the streets or to the families struggling in hidden homelessness. It was hope that has now been once again dashed. It’s as though this Government are more focused on garnering publicity than actually accelerating the development of social homes.
“When my colleagues and I flagged our concerns regarding the poor pace of delivery, we were assured we had no reason to be; that those most in need of permanent public housing would be in a home in a reasonable time frame.
“The figures released overnight certainly won’t have brought any degree of comfort or optimism to the more than 110,000 people desperate for public housing support. Minister Eoghan Murphy needs to detail when these new units will be ready for occupancy.
“There has been a tendency in the past for the Department to massage numbers related to housing units. I take that hugely seriously given that these figures represent people’s lives after all. I will be seeking a detailed breakdown on a Local Authority basis when the Minister is before the Oireachtas next week,” he concluded.
Local Fianna Fáil TD, Darragh O’Brien has written to the Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris this week to seek an urgent meeting regarding crime and policing in North County Dublin.
Deputy O’Brien commented, “There are currently 20% less Gardaí policing our streets in Fingal as there were eight years ago. That’s a substantial cut and one that continues to cause fear and frustration among locals.
“Cllr Eoghan O'Brien and I have held a number of public meetings on crime and policing in our locality over the past number of years and despite calls for measures to be put in place the rise in crime has been allowed continue.
“The thugs that are a threat to communities in the North County are all too well aware that there are barely enough Garda resources to police streets let alone housing estates or more rural roads. There’s just about the capacity to respond to emergency calls and Gardaí are doing their best to deter crime but it’s a virtually impossible task.
“We are no closer to Rush Garda Station being back up and running and the station in Malahide continues to operate on limited hours. Other sizable towns in the county such as Swords, Portmarnock and Kinsealy are without any Garda resources whatsoever. In this day and age that’s very difficult for residents to accept that given they don’t feel fully protected.
“It’s as though those in Government are unwilling to recognise the facts. So long as it fails to acknowledge the impact of reduced Garda resources, serious assaults, burglaries and attacks on farmers will continue in our region. People have had enough of feeling unsafe or unprotected and that’s something that I will be conveying to the Commissioner.
“In order to restore the public’s confidence in An Garda Síochána, they will need to see some major effort being made to increase the presence of Gardaí. The re-opening of Rush Garda Station is paramount and its closure has gone on too long, “concluded Deputy O’Brien.