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McDonald attacks Labour’s commitment to Fianna Fáil’s Family Home Tax

21 March, 2013 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Speaking in the Dáil this morning Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD criticised Labour Ministers for their commitment to Fianna Fáil’s Family Home Tax noting the deeply unfair terms of the tax for those seeking deferrals or living in ghost estates.

The Dublin Central TD said:

“Over the last week citizens across this state have been receiving letters from revenue in relation to the government’s Family Home Tax. This is a tax which takes no account of ability to pay, those in negative equity, those in mortgage arrears to the thousands many have paid in stamp duty.

“Following the Department of the Environment’s publication of the exemptions list this morning we have another example of just how unfair this tax is. Of the 1,770 unfinished ghost estates, 421 will be exempt from the new tax. In contrast, 1,322 estates with 43,000 households were exempt under the household charge waiver list.

“Media reports this morning indicate that a resident of Priory Hall, an estate classed as unfit for human habitation, has been landed with a property tax bill. So why are those living in ghost estates exempt from the household charge now being hit with this family home tax?

“How can a Labour party Minister defend the burden of this tax on families who are struggling to make ends meet, struggling under the weight of negative equity and mortgage distress, people who simply can’t pay?

“The bands for deferral under the family home tax are a scandal. How can a single Labour minister deem it reasonable for a single person on a meagre salary of €16,000 to pay this tax, or indeed a couple struggling on €30,000 a year? Or indeed believe that the deferral option which will apply interest to those who can’t pay is in some way fair.

“Labour and Fine Gael’s dogged commitment to Fianna Fáil’s Family Home Tax is yet another indication of just how out of touch this government is. They have choices. They could drop the family home tax and instead enact Sinn Féin’s Wealth Tax legislation introduced by Pearse Doherty TD late last year.” ENDS

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