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Gormley must exclude Granny Flats from Second Home levy – Doherty

2 July, 2009 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Donegal Senator Pearse Doherty has today said that Minister John Gormley can and should exclude Granny Flats from the Second Home levy. Following an exchange with John Gormley on the Granny Flat exclusion amendment tabled by Senator Doherty the Environment Minister accepted that he would have to reconsider the issue and has gone to the Attorney General to seek advice. Minister Gormley is due to return to the Seanad this evening to clarify the matter.

Senator Doherty said:

“Speaking to my Granny Flat Amendment to the Second Home levy in the Seanad yesterday I impressed upon the Minister Gormley the need to exempt granny flats from the levy. He can and should make this decision, particularly in the context that there is broad political support for this amendment.

“Penalising families for providing a home to an elderly relative or to their own children makes no sense and is just plain wrong. The provision of this very particular type of accommodation by families saves the public finances a great deal of money. It also tackles the isolation and insecurity felt by family members in rural areas who would otherwise live on their own.

“That this government is now seeking to penalise a son or daughter financially for building a place for their mother or father in their later years is morally bankrupt and economically unfounded. When dealing with legislation Ministers and members need to remember that we are debating real issues that affect real people.

“Sinn Féin has commended Minister Gormley on the Bill but penalising the elderly, and their children who have built granny flats so that they can provide the necessary care and support for their parents goes totally against the spirit of the legislation.

“The Minister is due back in the Seanad this evening to clarify the issue. Mr. Gormley needs to realise that this is a major issue for rural Ireland. He cannot come back to the house hiding behind the Attorney General’s coat tails. The government can and must exclude granny flats from the Second Home levy.” ENDS

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