Opposition bid to scrap homes tax
Opposition parties have made a last-ditch attempt to persuade the Government to scrap the dreaded property tax.
As TDs debated a new Bill to introduce the tax, around 100 Sinn Fein supporters gathered at the Dail to protest against the extra burden which will come into force in July.
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin also accused the Government of trying to rush through the Bill to prevent a proper debate on the issue, saying he had written to Taoiseach Enda Kenny pleading for more time.
"Forcing through legislation on a family home tax without a proper debate is unfair, undemocratic and will only fuel the public's sense of frustration and disconnect," Mr Martin said.
"It displays contempt for the mandate held by deputies on all sides of the House and shows how arrogant and out of touch this Government has become in a very short period of time."
Introducing the legislation to impose the tax, Finance Minister Michael Noonan revealed that homes with a certain level of pyrite damage will be exempt. Other waivers will apply to homeowners earning less than 15,000 euro (£12,100) and those living in ghost estates.
Details of the tax were unveiled as part of Budget 2013, which comprised 3.5 billion euro (£2.8 billion) of tax hikes and spending cuts.
The rate was set at 0.18% of the property value, rising to 0.25% for homes worth more than one million euro (£810,300). This will see the owner of a home worth the national average price of 157,400 euro (£127,100) paying nearly 300 euro (£242) every year.
Mr Noonan has insisted those who are eligible will have an option to defer their payments - until the sale of the property in question.
But Sinn Fein, Fianna Fail and members of the United Left Alliance have warned that struggling homeowners have been squeezed enough.