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Government dragging its heels on €200 holiday home levy

10 February, 2009

Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty has today accused the government of dragging its heels on progressing €200 levy it introduced on holiday homes, rented accommodation and second houses in Budget 2009. The Donegal Senator also criticised government for refusing to allow local authorities to retain this much need revenue stream noting, “it is an absolute scandal that after years of lobbying by Donegal politicians for the introduction of this levy that this government in now robbing us of the proceeds.”


The Donegal Senator said:


“The government’s legislative programme for the spring session 2009 indicates that the Local Government Bill legislation within which the €200 levy will be dealt with is ‘expected’  to be published sometime in 2009.


“When it came to dealing with underwriting the banks last year or the recent nationalisation of Anglo Irish bank and the forthcoming recapitalisation of AIB and Bank of Ireland involving billions of euro and massive risk to the Irish taxpayer the government has been able to act with great haste.


“Yet despite the €200 levy being introduced last October in the government’s Budget 2009 proposals they appear in no rush at all to progress the necessary legislation to enact the levy which could provide millions in much needed income.


“When and if the legislation is enacted the issue of who retains the monies is till outstanding. It is Sinn Féin’s position that the monies must be retained by the local authorities within which the holiday homes, rented accommodation and second houses are located.


"When we examine the figures, it is clear that Donegal was the county that would benefit the most from this levy given the high levels of holiday homes, rental property and second houses that we have in this county. Donegal has the highest numbers of holiday homes in the state which in the county currently stand at 8,275. The county also has the sixth highest number of occupied rental properties in the state with 4,232 properties in the county and Donegal with 10,768 non-principal private residences or second houses is also has the largest number in the state after the city counties of Cork, Dublin and Galway. With a total number of properties that will be subject to the €200 levy in this county standing at 23,278 it is clear that Donegal County Council would gain substantially from the levy monies.

"If the council were allowed to keep this money it would amount to €4,655,600 each year allowing the council to provide additional services, recruit extra staff, and reduce the rate burden on our struggling businesses in the county. It would also enable to council to rehire the 71 staff it let go in December, and hold on to the 68 staff members it is expected to let go at the beginning of March as well as the 105 additional staff whose jobs are also in question. The County Manager and the Fianna Fáil councillors have highlighted in the past that this levy is the way in which the county would balance its books after the savage cuts in funding for the council that was imposed by the government.

"It is an absolute scandal that after years of lobbying by Donegal politicians for the introduction of this levy that this government in now robbing us of the proceeds. It is time for our Fianna Fáil politicians and in particular our Tánaiste, Mary Coughlan TD to stand up for Donegal and say enough is enough.” ENDS


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