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Living City Initiative should be approached with caution - Doherty

5 May, 2015 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said the government’s long awaited “Living City Initiative” must be approached with caution and is a far cry from the original initiative announced in Budget 2012. Deputy Doherty expressed concern that some elements of the scheme hark back to old style property tax breaks.

Deputy Doherty said:

“It is almost three and half years since this initiative was first announced. Then it was limited to Waterford and Limerick and only Georgian houses qualified.  Today we see announced a very different scheme in which four more cities have been added, any pre 1915 dwelling qualifies and a whole new “commercial element” has been added to. The maps presented today also seem to cover the entire city centres of the six cities.

"When this initiative was first announced I expressed concern that the scheme was just another old style property tax break.  The way the scheme has been expanded and the rules loosened has done nothing to soothe my fears.  The delays due to EU State Aid concerns have now ended but what has come out of those delays is a very different creature. 

"I am particularly concerned that the requirement for any sort of refurbishment of a residential space has been dropped in some cases. This is something I raised in great detail during the passing of this legislation.

"We all know the issues in many of our cities and towns where economic decline has hit the main street. I remain to be convinced that this scheme in either its original format or new format will solve any of those issues. A property tax break in the State’s main cities is a road that should be very carefully approached. I will be quizzing Minister Noonan on why this plan has changed so much and monitoring its implementation.”

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