Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said that local councils must adopt a flexible and reasonable attitude to the imposition of interest on Non Principal Private Residence charges and Minister Kelly should review the written guidance to councils on the collection of the charge.
Speaking today Deputy Doherty said:
“Many people who now face a total bill of well over €7,000 from the 1st September were not even aware that they are liable for the NPPR. I am aware of cases being taken with the Ombudsman by citizens who feel they have been ambushed by this charge.
“Guidance issued by the Department allows for local to provide flexibility in cases of genuine hardship. This includes writing down or waving of fees.
“Councils must make full use of this flexibility to make sure fairness prevails. Minister Kelly should review this guidance and to ensure that those who were genuinely not aware of the charge to be free from massive late payment fees.
“When the Fianna Fail/Green government introduced this charge it was labelled a ‘Second Home Tax’. However, despite Sinn Féin’s objection at the time they included not only those with second homes but people who had only one house but as a result of circumstances were not living permanently in those homes.
“These include emigrants who have been forced to leave the country as a result of economic hardship and many in rural communities who have been forced to leave their homes, moving to larger cities and renting home in search of work.
“These people have been forced from their homes as a result of government policy yet they are now not only being punished with the NPPR but are being hit with a massive late payment bill as well.
“Sinn Fein’s Councillors across this State will use their influence to ensure a reasonable and flexible approach is taken by local councils where an application for flexibility because of hardship is submitted.”