A DEBATE on the controversial new property tax was restarted a month after it began at a meeting of Fingal County Council where the Government were warned that it face the same 'political crisis' over the new tax that it faced over the household charge.
A debate on a motion from Cllr Eugene Coppinger (SP) calling on the Government to abandon the proposed property tax was cut short in December when councillors ran out of time to discuss the issue. But the debate carried on where it left off at the January meeting last week as councillors reacted to Cllr Coppinger's assertion that the proposed tax is 'draconian' and 'anti-family'. Cllr Tom Kelleher weighed into the debate and said that he had read that some Fine Gael TDs from the south county Dublin area were backing away from the tax amid fears that Dublin households would be hit the hardest. But he said that there was an economic 'mess' left by the last administration and the Government had to find revenue from somewhere. He said that further taxes on work, as an alternative, would be unwelcme and 'regressive'. Cllr Eoghan O'Brien (FF) said the proposed tax was ' antiDublin' and added: 'I don't think the time is right given what people have been going through in terms of their personal finances, to bring in another new tax.' But Cllr Matthew Waine (SP) responded saying Fianna Fáil councillors were engaged in a 'pantomime' and said that they must think that the 'electorate out there have very short memories'. He said it was the Fianna Fáil led administration that 'signed up to this property tax' in its agreement with the so-called 'troika' but Cllr David McGuinness (FF) claimed that property tax was a 'different animal' to the one proposed by the current Government. Cllr Waine said the property tax was a tax on ' ordinary working class people' and that the opposition to it on the ground would be stronger than that against the household charge. He also criticised the Labour party for signing up to the tax and said that the party would be 'hounded' by its voters over the issue. As the political brick-bats continued to be thrown in the chamber from party to party, Cllr Joan Maher (FG) weighed in, criticising both her Fianna Fáil and Socialist Party colleagues. She said that Fianna Fáil had a 'brass neck' in highlighting the tax's failure to take account of ability to pay. She said: 'They are the reason people have a reduced ability to pay.' Cllr Maher accused the Socialist Party of issuing 'threats' and said that the motion condemning the property tax was 'rubbish'.