The TDs And The Council Houses

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Fine Gael’s deputy spokesperson on Enterprise and Trade, Kieran O’Donnell and Fianna Fáil’s Senator Thomas Byrne (above) spoke to Pat Kenny on RTÉ Radio One this morning about the property tax.

They debated whether the property tax should be based on market value or square footage. Mr O’Donnell defended it, saying the Coalition were bringing in the new tax in the fairest way possible. Mr Byrne disagreed.

And then there was this:

Pat Kenny: “This is a new tax for a generation. It’s something that (the Government) they’re designing now. They will have to tweak it. They know that.”

Thomas Byrne: “Here are those anomalies, Pat. I mean the average property say in Dunboyne (Co. Meath) last year, according to the property price register, was in that band between €250,000 and €300,000. They’re going to be paying €495 a year. In Longford, a similar house, maybe a three-bed semi, or a good four-bed semi, might be only in the €90 property tax band. I mean that’s over five times’ that, Pat. That’s wrong and it’s unfair. Another anomaly in the council houses. There are TDs in Dáil Éireann on the record as living in council houses.”

Kenny: “Who?”

Byrne: “I’m not going to name them Pat. But you can check the record yourself. The fact that they’re on a very high salary is not taken into account. It’s simply the fact that they live in a council house. And this, relatively small amount, compared to other people, compared to their constituents…”

Kenny: “Hang on a second. No, no, no, this is important. If they’re on high incomes and they’re occupying local authority housing that should be there for people who are less privileged.

Byrne: “Yes.”

Kenny: “That’s not acceptable.”

Listen here

(Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland)