The Troika is “not wedded” to a property tax and is open to the measure being replaced by an alternative that would raise the same revenue, Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath has said.
He also said officials from the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank had not suggested a blanket ban on property tax for pensioners, but stressed ability to pay had to be taken into account.
Mr McGrath met members of the troika mission in Dublin this week and said they made “crystal clear” their position on the incoming tax.
“We went at them very directly on that question. I wanted to get absolute clarity. They made it crystal clear all measures set out in the memorandum of understanding are open to being replaced with good-quality alternatives that meet the targets,” Mr McGrath said. “I explicitly asked them would that apply to property tax and they said yes. They are not wedded to a property tax.”
Mr McGrath said the mission placed an emphasis on ensuring that burden-sharing was fair and that the most vulnerable members of society were protected, but he did not recall any direct reference to older people.
Fianna Fáil has opposed the incoming levy as unfair and argued that the proposal is the wrong plan at the wrong time.
Asked about the matter yesterday, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan would only say a property tax would be introduced, the Revenue Commissioners would collect it and details would be announced in the budget.
An IMF spokeswoman said the organisation’s policy was to update the press at the conclusion of a mission.
Source: Mary Minihan / Irish Times.