14 December 2015
By Bryan T. Smyth
Homes that have suffered flood damage as a result of adverse weather should have their property tax waived under new proposals from Fianna Fáil.
Councillor Margaret Murphy O’Mahony has said: “It’s simply unfair to ask families who have been washed out of their homes and suffered huge damage to their personal possessions to continue to pay property taxes while they try to get back on their feet.”
Last Friday the Government rejected Fianna Fáil proposal to exempt flooded homes from property tax bills.
Margaret said: “Thousands of people have been affected by disastrous flooding across the country this year including many families in west Cork who have suffered quite a bit. Some face the prospect of not being able to spend Christmas in their own homes. I don’t believe we can realistically say to these families that they must continue to be burdened with property taxes on homes they can’t live in or have to spend months repairing because of huge flood damage.
“The Government is a position now to demonstrate a measure of compassion and give important relief for flooded homeowners. Under the proposals Fianna Fáil put forward homes in west Cork hit by flooding would be able to get relief from the property tax for at least a year. We also believe there should be a commercial rates relief applied for businesses and self-employed people who have been flooded, who have suffered damage property, stock and loss of earnings because of a prolonged closure through no fault of their own.
“I think it flies in the face of basic common sense to continue to expect homeowners who are trying to salvage what’s left of their family possessions to pay their property tax bill again in the new year. There is still scope for the Government to act here and this should be taken on as a matter of priority. Changes have already been made to Property Tax law to provide relief for homeowners in unfinished estates and also those who have suffered pyrite, so why would there not be a compassionate exemption on the basis of flood damage?”