Too soon for new tax

Fianna Fáil is calling on the Fine Gael/Labour government to sideline the introduction of the property tax, due to be introduced next year, charging that the government has "made an utter mess" of the issue.

A property value-based tax is set to be introduced from January 2013, although no details have been decided as yet, the Irish Times reported.

Fianna Fáil senator Darragh O'Brien said that while the idea of a property tax should be examined, now was the wrong time.

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"(Minister) Phil Hogan and his government colleagues have made an utter mess of the property tax issue from day one. The initial household charge, which they told us was the pilot project to show the country how easy it could be, was a disaster, with almost 40 percent of the population unable or unwilling to pay the €100 charge.

"Phil Hogan, in his wisdom, responds to this by punishing everyone and cutting the services of local authorities all over the country to the point where one major urban council can no longer keep street lighting operational. In the meantime, we finally got confirmation of the scale of our mortgage arrears crisis, with one in five of mortgage holders now either in arrears or having restructured with their banks.

"A more realistic and common sense approach is needed. The government needs to prioritize efforts to address the mortgage arrears crisis first and get people back to work before introducing any new charges on people's homes," O'Brien said.