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Sinn Fein to call for review of properties exempt from rates

29 November, 2004

Sinn Fein TD, Aengus Ó Snodaigh has said that Sinn Fein will look to remove the rates exemption from buildings, land, waterways or harbours occupied by the State.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

"Sinn Féin will be making the case for local government reform at the next election. Our proposals will include a review of the list of properties that are exempt from rates as contained in the Valuation Act of 2001. There are currently 19 different classes of property exempt from rates and while many of the exemptions are ones that we would be extremely supportive of, much as we have long argued for a review and costing of tax breaks, we will demand a similar exercise be conducted on rate exemptions.

"More specifically we will look to remove the exemption for buildings, land, waterways or harbours occupied by the State, currently exempt from rates under Section 15 of the Valuation Act. It must also be understood that we would oppose any attempt to claw back the money paid by the State on rates through the local authority funding.

"The proposal referred to by my colleague regarding the imposition of a Bed Tax would also require legislation at a state wide level. It would be our proposal that the power to create, impose and set such a tax be left in the hands of the elected representatives of the relevant local authorities. Thus, local authorities who do not wish to use this power, may choose not to do so.

"We will also be seeking to overturn sections of the Waste Management Act of 2003 that took the power to impose and set the rate for the provision of waste services out of the hands of the elected representatives of the people and passed it to unaccountable State appointed bureaucrats.

"It is time for the government to widen the fundraising powers of local authorities as part of empowering and democratising local government." ENDS

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