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Monday 20 November 2017

Labour TD illustrates bitterness between his party and Phil Hogan

Emmet Stagg
Emmet Stagg

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

THE bitterness between Labour and Environment Minister Phil Hogan deepened today with the junior coalition partner’s chief whip saying Mr Hogan made a “dog’s dinner” of the property tax exemptions.

Kildare North TD Emmet Stagg also said Mr Hogan “was missing” from the Dail last week when Labour ministers had to explain why the number of ghost estate exemptions for the property tax was substantially down on those for the controversial €100 household charge.

Mr Stagg also told his local radio station, Kfm, that Mr Hogan needed to change the decision to dramatically cut the number of exemptions. 

While 43,000 households were exempted from the household charge, only 5,100 households have been exempted from the local property tax. The number of exempted homes was reduced after inspections by local authorities in advance of the property tax being introduced.

Mr Stagg is close to Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and is reflecting a wider anger in the party. Mr Gilmore also confronted Taoiseach Enda Kenny about Mr Hogan’s behaviour last week.

“The Government and the minister in particular made a dog’s dinner of this,” Mr Stagg told Kfm. “There is no way that the 43,000 estates that were previously deemed to be in such a state that they shouldn’t have to pay the €100 last year have now miraculously been transformed into a state where they are OK. That simply is not the case.

“This needs to be re-examined, this is a bad decision. It is a stupid decision in my view to pile misery on top of misery on people that are already in the situation.

“He was missing from the Dail and left Pat Rabbitte to deal with in the Dail last Thursday morning. I presume he’s back now from Brussels and he’ll deal with it.

“I want the minister to change his decision. If an estate wasn’t fit last year, I want him to show me very clearly how and show the residents how it has changed to be fit this year.”

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