Green Party Councillors in Cork are outraged as city councillors refused to debate changes to the Local Property Tax rate and forced a vote without discussion. The Party had previously published and publicly discussed a proposal to increase the charge by 15%, utilising the money raised to improve public amenities across the city, including cycling infrastructure, footpath maintenance and public parks, but other parties opted to shut down the discussion of the rate before it could begin in the council chambers.
"No matter your position, that was utter cowardice,” said Green Party Councillor Oliver Moran. “The first responsibility of an elected representative is to stand up and be counted. Running away from debate has no place in politics, and they should hang their heads in shame."
"The Chief Executive laid out that we had the opportunity before us to turn €3 million in local taxes into €12 million in matched funds from Dublin and Brussels,” the Green Party candidate in the upcoming Cork North Central by-election Cllr. Moran continued. “That's money now stolen from every street and neighborhood in the city because of ‘election year cowardice’ by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Sinn Féin."
Nineteen councillors representing Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Sinn Féin opted to avoid a debate on changing the rate for Local Property Tax. The four Green Party City Councillors were joined by representatives from Solidarity, Labour and a number of independents in calling for a debate on the rate, but the vote fell. Green Party Councillor for Cork South East Lorna Bogue, who published the Green Party proposal on the LPT rate during the week, added:
“We are facing into an economic crisis with Brexit looming, and it’s highly likely that community infrastructure in Cork won’t be at the forefront of the government’s priorities. We put forward a thought-out strategy and discussion document so we as councillors could discuss taxation. For no discussion to take place whatsoever is a dereliction of our duties as councillors, and my voters have been entirely disrespected by the rigged process dreamt up by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. It is a very sad day for democracy in Cork.
“Some of our colleagues in the council were in the papers just today decrying the lack of funding & action on improving their communities, but today shied away from even discussing a solution,” Councillor Bogue continued. “Just shows that some politicians are more concerned with their own profile ahead of elections than actually doing the hard work.”
Without a debate, the rate for LPT for residents of Cork City will remain the same as it was for the previous year. Earlier this week Cork County Council narrowly voted for a 5% raise in Local Property Tax following a proposal from Green Party Councillor Alan O’Connor.