When I was young, I often accompanied my father who was a rates collector when he went to collect rates in Kilcock. Everybody paid them, regardless of whether they were living in a local authority house, on a farm or in a large property in a rural area. They were collected on behalf of the local authority and spent by it. People want to be assured that whatever they pay to the Revenue Commissioners will be paid over to the local authority in their area. As stated by Deputy Joe O’Reilly, it is important that there be a connection between the person paying for services through his or her taxes and the local authorities.
I would like to raise a couple of issues with the Minister. I have tabled an amendment to section 133 which deals with executors of wills. The Bill, as drafted, provides that an executor must pay the property tax, even though he or she might not be a beneficiary. Perhaps the Minister might consider allowing the executor to defer payment until such time as the will has been dealt with.
Another issue of concern to me is that people living in housing estates who, like those living in apartments, pay management fees in respect of street lighting, internal sewers, repairs to footpaths, water systems and so on. These issues are not addressed by local authorities. Perhaps the Minister might consider an exemption for people living in estates already paying management fees in respect of repairs.
Despite the rhetoric of the Opposition, people throughout Europe pay property tax. It is extremely difficult to listen to Sinn Féin speak against the introduction of a property tax here while it supports such a charge in the North. Those socialists who have expressed their opposition to the introduction of a property tax here are at odds with their brethren elsewhere in Europe. I welcome the introduction of the property tax, in respect of which some tweaking will be required in the future.