Pensioner demands his day in court over property tax

Mike Dwane

Reporter:

Mike Dwane

Minister of State Jan O'Sullivan is confronted by Brian Hinchy, in wheelchair second from right, and anti-austerity campaigners outside the Track Bar in Garryowen. Picture: Liam Burke/Press 22
A GARRYOWEN pensioner who has refused to pay the residential property tax has confronted Housing Minister Jan O’Sullivan to demand his day in court.

A GARRYOWEN pensioner who has refused to pay the residential property tax has confronted Housing Minister Jan O’Sullivan to demand his day in court.

Brian Hinchy, a widower, is irate that he has been hit with tax demands on both his bungalow on Singland Avenue and on a granny flat he built on his property. Both have been valued in the €100,000 to €150,000 bracket by the Revenue Commissioners which would amount to a total tax liability of €450 over a full year. Having failed to engage with Revenue, he has been warned that deductions will now be made from his private pension.

Supported by local members of the Campaign Against the Property Tax and Austerity, Mr Hinchy picketed Minister O’Sullivan’s clinic at the Track Bar in Garryowen on Monday.

“He seemed like a decent man and I did have some sympathy for him particularly in relation to the valuation of his property in Garryowen. He definitely has a case in terms of the valuation and he probably should contest that as others have done and seen the tax reduced as a result,” the minister said.

“The problem is that he hasn’t engaged and the Revenue sent out their own evaluation which is probably wrong. In fairness to him as well, that wasn’t the point he was making. He wants to, as he said himself, have his day in court and challenge the tax.”

Mr Hinchy said he was left unimpressed following his audience with the Limerick TD.

“I got no answers. She just repeated the same old guff, trying to pass the buck to the last government or to Fine Gael and encouraging me to complain to the Minister of Finance instead. She is a junior minister for housing, yet she acted like she had nothing to do with this tax,” said Mr Hinchy, who is wheelchair-bound.

“She simply said we must all pay our taxes. I told her I don’t mind paying fair taxes but this is not a fair tax.”

Minister O’Sullivan, meanwhile, said that some of those picketing with Mr Hinchy had an obvious political axe to grind as Socialist Party candidates in the local elections.