Protest at O’Sullivan office as Labour targeted by property tax campaigners

Mike Dwane

Reporter:

Mike Dwane

LABOUR’S vote in Limerick will “collapse” over its support for the property tax, campaigners have said after staging a protest at the constituency office of Minister of State Jan O’Sullivan.

LABOUR’S vote in Limerick will “collapse” over its support for the property tax, campaigners have said after staging a protest at the constituency office of Minister of State Jan O’Sullivan.

But Deputy O’Sullivan said she “wouldn’t be losing much sleep” over an “opportunist” protest organised by left-wing activists who in other countries favoured property taxes.

Cian Prendiville, a spokesman for the Campaign Against Property Tax and Austerity, handed in postcards at Deputy O’Sullivan’s office which were signed by Limerick citizens opposed to the charge. Householders will be notified by the Revenue Commissioners in the coming weeks of their obligation to pay.

“Jan O’Sullivan and her colleagues in Labour claimed to oppose austerity and to represent workers and the unemployed. Now they, along with Fine Gael, are impoverishing us to pay the bankers. The property tax is simply hundreds of euro more out of our pockets, to be followed by water charges next year,” said Mr Prendiville, a candidate for the Socialist Party in the last general election.

“Scandalously, O’Sullivan and the other government TDs are now supporting giving draconian powers of deduction to collect this hated tax.”

Council houses had not been made exempt from the charge and this meant that local authorities were likely to increase rents to cover their costs.

“People need to let the TDs, particularly the weak link of the Labour Party, know that this is not acceptable,” Mr Prendiville said, warning voters would never forget if the charge is taken from pensioners and the unemployed.

The postcard campaign is part of a national effort and was attracting support in parts of Limerick with traditionally strong Labour support, Mr Prendiville said.

“We were in Norwood Park the other night which has a 30% Labour vote if you go by the tallies from last time, One hundred and ten people signed the postcards and another 21 people took bundles of them to hand out to their friends,” he said.

Deputy O’Sullivan said of this Monday’s protest that it was “seeking publicity for their own agenda on the backs of people like myself”.

“There was a photographer waiting there for them as I understand it and they didn’t hang around very long. They certainly weren’t there when I came along,” she said.

“Most left-wing parties in Europe are very much in favour of property taxes as they widen the tax base away from income and work and what we have here is political opportunism from the Socialist Party and their supporters.

“Having said that, there are genuine concerns out there on what it will cost and we appreciate that people are at the pin of their collars,” she said.

That was why the government had ensured social and voluntary housing was placed in the lowest band - at €90 per annum - for the purposes of the property tax.