Sinn Féin Councillors have voted against South Dublin County Councils annual budget. The budget included an increase in Council rents for some old age pensioners of €13 per week and an increase in Council rents by €3 across the board. This could see some pensioners being hit with a 38% increase in their weekly rents.
Cllr Mark Ward said,
“Sinn Féin were part of the ruling group in the last Council and we defended the weekly rents charged to Council tenants from constant attack by Fine Gael. We are now seeing the new ruling group of Fine Gael, Green Party and Fianna Fáil directly attacking the most vulnerable in our society.
“We had robustly defended the €10 a week discount to weekly rents for all Old Age Pensioners. The ruling Council group voted to remove this in one foul swoop. Old Age Pensioners are already being pushed to the brink financially. This measure is going to push them over the edge.
“Some old age pensioners will see a €676 yearly increase on their rent and the remainder of the old age pensioners will see a yearly increase of €156.
“One example, Mary, aged 66 on a state pension of €248 per week, and husband John aged 65, recently retired on job seekers allowance of €188 per week. Prior to this change their rent was €33.60 weekly.
“The rent for this elderly couple will now be €46.60 per week. That is and 38% increase thanks to Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Greens. The rest of Dublin is only subject to a 4% allowed rent increase as we are in a rent pressure zone. This does not apply to John and Mary.
“This is not acceptable in the current climate. I help pensioners who are already financially challenged. Sometimes their choice is to feed themselves or heat their home.
“9,840 Council homes will also see their rent increase by €3 per week. That’s a €156 annual increase across the board irrespective of their ability to pay. Again, another stealth tax on our most vulnerable by Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Greens”
“This €3 per week increase is also applicable to those that are on the RAS programme. RAS tenants will be subjected to this increase despite the Council having no responsibility to maintain their homes.”
Cllr Cathal King said;
“Sinn Féin did manage to reduce the local property tax by the maximum amount of 15% allowable by legislation to help the burden on house owners, some of whom are already in mortgage distress.
“We have reduced this every year and will continue to do so. My fear is that this ruling group of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party will attempt to increase the local property tax in the coming years.”