The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on the Environment, Brian Stanley TD, has challenged Minister Phil Hogan on the misuse of the Local Property Tax to pay for the establishment of Irish Water.
Questioning the Minister at the Environment Committee meeting this afternoon, the Laois/Offaly Deputy claimed that this contradicted recent denials by the Department of the Environment that any of the LPT would be used for that purpose.
Deputy Stanley said;
“My party opposed the property tax on the basis that it constituted another tax to raise revenue for the state, rather than a fund to pay for local government services. When the Local Property Tax was passed, it was stated that it would go to provide for the upkeep of ‘parks, libraries, footpaths and public lighting.’
“That was stated at the time publically to get people to pay. It has now been shown, through the department’s own estimates that it will partly go to sub-venting a company that will itself be imposing an added financial burden on households by charging for water.
“According to the estimates the property tax will bring in €550 million in 2014. That will be collected into the Local Government Fund which will be raided to the tune of €490 million to pay for Irish Water. That constitutes 28% of the funding that was meant to go to support local services such as roads and transport, both of which will now receive less in total than Irish Water.
“Not only does this contradict earlier claims regarding the uses of the Property Tax, it also proves that the Department official who before Christmas stated that no part of the LPT would be used to set up Irish water was being less than forthcoming with the facts. This only adds further to the murky waters that surround the establishment of this company.”