Cork County Council Increase Property Tax for 2020

By Seamus Whelehan


The Local Property Tax(LPT), which has been kept by the Local Authority at base rate since 2017, is set to increase across the County, for the first time in 3 years.

Cllrs backed a Motion by the Green Party, by a short majority of 27/24, to increase the rate by 5%.

The move means an additional €16 on the annual payment for 83% of properties in Cork County.

Council Executive told the Public Representatives that, by keeping the rate at base level, the County would struggle to maintain services.

Since parts of the County transferred to the City Council, the Local Authority has lost €38million between Government grants and commercial rates.

CEO, Tim Lucey, said while he was in the final stages of agreeing a compensatory package with the City, he feared it would not fully cover the operating costs of the County for 2020.

He said the cost of doing business is becoming more expensive with inflation, insurance increases and construction costs which are impacting the Council’s daily operation.

Director of Finance, Lorraine Lynch, said the Authority also needs to budget for increased spending next year, which includes national pay agreements and pension increases.

Leader of Fianna Fail in Cork County, Seamus McGrath, tabled a Motion to keep the status quo.

He said his Party “could not see fit to land property owners who remain in the County following the boundary changes, with a Property Tax increase in the first year.”

Support from the Social Democrats, Sinn Fein and a number of Independents, however, was not enough to keep the base rate of tax.

Sinn Fein Party Leader, Paul Hayes, said the Council should be putting more emphasis on getting increased funding from Central Government.

He said “There’s a clearly flawed system here, and the residents of Cork should not be tapped for a few million. I know when you break it down it’s just a few cents increase, but I don’t think we can justify that.”

Labour Leader, Cathal Rasmussen, said “Morally the thing is to leave things as they are, but if we want extra services we should increase the rate fractionally this year to get some monies in, even if it is going to be impalpable.”

The Green Party spokesperson, Alan O’Connor, said he was suggesting the 5% increase with a heavy heart.

“While there is a potential loss to freezing the LPT, there is also a cost to increasing it, but there is also quite a return to the community as well.”

Social Democrat, Holly McKeever Cairns, who voted against the increase said she was Seconding Cllr O’Connor’s Motion to give Cllrs an option.

Fine Gael leader Cllr John Paul O’Shea said his Party was happy to support the 5% increase “based on the fact that the money given from the increase is ring fenced for Municipal Districts.”