Fianna Fáil has called on the government to abandon the introduction of a full property tax next year.
Senator Darragh O’Brien has accused the Fine Gael/Labour coalition of making an “utter mess” of the issue and said it was being rushed through without proper discussion.
Senator O’Brien said while the idea of a property tax should be examined, now was the wrong time to do so.
He said: “Phil Hogan and his Government colleagues have made an utter mess of the property tax issue from day one. The initial household charge, which they told us was the pilot project to show the country how easy it could be, was a disaster, with almost 40% of the population unable or unwilling to pay the €100 charge.
“Phil Hogan, in his wisdom, responds to this by punishing everyone and cutting the services of local authorities all over the country to the point where one major urban council can no longer keep street lighting operational.
“In the meantime, we finally got confirmation of the scale of our mortgage arrears crisis, with one in five mortgage holders now either in arrears or having restructured with their banks.”
He went on to say that the Government’s wish “to rush through a new property tax system” is wrong.
Senator O’Brien said: “As Minister Varadkar said before being promoted to Cabinet, ‘A property tax would further depress the housing market and would plunge Ireland even deeper into recession’. However true that was at the time he said it, it is even more true of the value based tax his Government is suggesting today.
“A more realistic and common sense approach is needed. The Government needs to prioritise efforts to address the mortgage arrears crisis first and get people back to work before introducing any new charges on people’s homes.”