Quinn, Ruairí

Wednesday, 6 December 1978

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 310 No. 5

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Local Government (Financial Provisions) Bill, 1977: Committee Stage (Resumed).

I have listened to Deputy Fitzpatrick's arguments and I wonder if the Minister could explain why subsection 6 is there in the first place. If a hereditament is defined as a dwelling and if any extens...More Button

We are attempting to see what loopholes may exist and how they could be closed. Take the circumstances where a domestic garage is attached to a house in terms of ownership but not necessarily physica...More Button

We are talking about possible loopholes and this is the place where they should be cleared up rather than have the courts cluttered with claims as a result of them. If somebody erects a building, a s...More Button

That is the point I am coming to. If the Valuation Office take it on themselves in the revaluation to amalgamate the two at the request of the owner there is no problem but as regards this legislatio...More Button

In fairness to the House, we are not telling any secrets out of school if we refer to the fact that there was considerable confusion in regard to what the Valuation Office should have been doing for a...More Button

It seems that there should be some cross-reference to the £40 valuation for secondary schools and the £1 valuation for domestic land. Is that necessary under this section?More Button

Subsection (7) reads: “In case any land entered as land in the valuation lists belongs to and is usually enjoyed with a secondary school....” If a secondary school, as is the case in some Dublin area...More Button

What would be the case if they were charged rent plus a portion of the rates?More Button

Some secondary schools rent land on a regular basis. It would reduce the rent if they could tie some of the rates in with the rent.More Button

I know that that is the intention in the Act. In the case of new schools that might not have access to sports fields and that enter into a sensible arrangement with a sporting organisation for the us...More Button

Although it may not be much overall, we do not know how rates will go in the future in regard to the rate in the £. If a club rented out land on a regular basis to a school—I know of circumstances wh...More Button

Further to the point the Minister was making about the use of such land, we will say, owned by a sports club, by a school, is there the possibility of a loophole emerging in subsection (7)? Let me pu...More Button

Perhaps I am not expressing my point sufficiently clearly. I am not a lawyer but, as the section stands, the English is fairly explicit. It says: In case any land entered as land in the valuation li...More Button

And the primary use would be defined as the majority use. How would the Minister define “use”?More Button

SECTION 2.

I was not here. I thought my amendments simply on section I had been ruled out of order.More Button

Then I will speak on it on the section.More Button

If one could change the name of the Minister on the Order Paper to my name the fact is the Minister has made the best argument yet for the amendment tabled by me which was ruled out of order. He has ...More Button

Right. Now the Minister has a golden opportunity to reduce the discrimination implicit in that valuation system which is based on factors, as the Minister and I know, that no longer apply. Certainl...More Button

Therefore some people could have three times the size of a garden which could be put to considerable use—it is not just used for cutting grass these days—and is there no other simple way, such as a st...More Button

I accept that that is what we are dealing with but that limitation is somewhat self-imposed.More Button

Is it not possible in this instance simply to put in here the “either, or” definition, £1 valuation or one statute acre? A statute acre is a clear measure that can be readily tested by any local auth...More Button

I appreciate that. There is a certain tendency in the Minister's response to this and to other measures to rely on other Acts which are outside the context of this. The fact that land outside urban ...More Button

I should like to raise a point which is referred to throughout the Bill which contrasts the attitude of the Minister and of this side of the House. The Minister seems to be satisfied as long as he hi...More Button

It seems to me the Minister is faced with a choice of equalising the amount of land irrespective of its valuation that would be exempt from rates to any domestic dwelling and saying that if a person h...More Button

In most cases.More Button

The Minister may not be quoting me fully. The proposal as originally drafted by me was after £1 to insert “or one statute acre” so that the anomaly with regard to local authority dwellings would not ...More Button

Exactly.More Button

Is this not a golden opportunity to define the area?More Button

We are on the first part of section 2 and there are many subsections I want to mention. The Explanatory Memorandum states that: Subsections (2) to (6) are concerned with domestic valuations which are...More Button

Yes they are.More Button

In other words I have correctly interpreted the provisions of this subsection. While talking specifically to this section I would like to have regard to another aspect of this legislation, that is th...More Button

I asked a variant of this question in May last. The Minister has stated now that a figure is not available but is he implying that somebody in the Department is doing the sum and that a figure will b...More Button

It is reassuring to know that the House will have such opportunity but we are talking about the tax base of local government. Irrespective of who happens to be the incumbent in the Custom House, afte...More Button

If there was nothing but subsection (5), if all rates remission were to be repealed and the full valuations brought into the taxation base, it would generate a lot of new income for local authorities ...More Button

That is right.More Button

As long as the Fianna Fáil Party are sitting over there I will always be worried.More Button

The explanations given so far by the Minister of State do not really satisfy the points I have raised. The first point is that it is stated in the Bill, and repeated by the Minister of State, that th...More Button

It is not my intention in any way to hold up the proceedings of this House but to a certain extent we are being put off with answers which do not specifically relate to the questions we are asking. ...More Button

I am grateful for the Minister's clarifications. It is quite clear now that the actual valuation of the property will be as originally set but that the tax base for the local authorities will be diff...More Button

Assuming this order becomes law, in some built-up areas where there are swings but no roundabouts the tax base as distinct from the valuation would be reduced in absolute terms. The Minister stated t...More Button

I accept that the Chair wishes to get the business done quickly.More Button

In view of all the discussion on this measure and in view of the fact that the Minister stated that his Department did not bother to calculate the implications of this order if it were to take effect—...More Button

This is the first time that we officially got the information the Minister has just given.More Button

The Minister previously used the phrase “the thing would probably balance out” but the Minister is now telling the House that it will work out equally and that some preliminary assessment was made wit...More Button

Local Government (Financial Provisions) Bill, 1977: Committee Stage.

Can the Minister explain why in those amendments the year 1978 is being substituted for 1976?More Button

They promised to get the country moving.More Button

This is an important section and the best verdict that could be put on it has been provided in a banner heading in the Irish Independent which describes it as a “con job”.More Button

We answer for ourselves only, not for the journalists. I regret the Minister has taken up so much of the valuable time of the parliamentary draftsman in producing what I on Second Stage called this l...More Button

The survey goes on to clarify that situation. Legally, landlords would not have been in a position to pass on the benefits of the aboltion of rates because it would have been Christmas 1977 before th...More Button

The fact is that virtually none of the tenants in private rented accommodation, where the separate dwellings were not separately apportioned, benefited from the abolition of rates. The benefit the la...More Button

There are more flats there per square mile than anywhere else.More Button

I appreciate the Chair's concern in this matter and I shall endeavour not to be repetitive in any way. However, I asked the Minister for some statistical information and in addition to saying that th...More Button

Consequently, they would be out of date. As one who is not a stranger to the property business generally, the Minister will understand readily that the census information might not necessarily be an ...More Button

I agree with the Minister. He has done the best job possible in protecting the property interests of landlords. If we consider the legal system and if we consider the effectiveness within which a ten...More Button

——to exclude from derating those premises for which the landlord has not sought separate apportionments from the local authority. The onus would not be on the tenant to seek his rights. The onus wou...More Button

Is the Minister saying that a landlord owning a house in four flats cannot apply for four separate valuations?More Button

We are all familiar with the reasons for that.More Button

On a point of order, I should like to know when this amendment was circulated.More Button

Is the reason for this the fact that the legislation has been slower than anticipated?More Button

On a point of clarification as I find this difficult to follow on first reading, is it correct that once an apportionment is made, when a valuation is split between two different activities and two di...More Button

In a mixed hereditament here, for example, £15 would be in respect of the residential aspect out of a valuation of £40, would that be constant for all time? What is the meaning of the last paragraph ...More Button

I was surprised to hear the Minister's last comment. I can understand that local authorities would not be tempted to do such a thing if they were not continually stuck for cash——More Button

——but the reality is that, irrespective of who sits in the Minister's seat from now on, the amount of money local authorities will get will be determined by a principal officer in the Department of Fi...More Button

That being the case, within the context of this section becoming law is the Minister going to set up any monitoring procedure so that some astute official in a local authority is not put into a room b...More Button

If I might make a correction, I chose my words carefully. The phrase I used was “to monitor” and not “interfere with”.More Button

The Minister is endeavouring to attribute to me a suggestion that I did not make. Earlier to-day I expressed concern at the prospect of an already unsatisfactory and unequal tax base being distorted ...More Button

The record will speak for itself.More Button

My concern is not so much with the abolition of domestic rates but with the local taxation base and with the Minister's specific responsibility in making a major contribution to local taxation on the ...More Button

But will the Minister be monitoring specific changes in that area? I know about the gross changes. They would include new dwellings, for example.More Button

I am aware that changes take place each year and that these are put forward as a gross figure for each local authority but it is in this area that there will be another possibility of the tax base bei...More Button

If you get planning permission for an extension and get a grant you are not subject to revaluation for seven years.More Button

It is a good section. There is no incentive to delay in that. Question put and agreed to. SECTION 9.More Button

The difficulty about attempting to act responsibly as an Opposition and to put down amendments has just been illustrated by the Chair who, without discretion, simply has to rule it out of order becaus...More Button

Earlier to-day we were told that for administrative convenience it is not really worthwhile doing certain things like statistical studies on certain aspects of the matter or possibly equalising the la...More Button

All I can say is if the Minister is seriously arguing that he is creating laws on that basis, then the financial constraints within which this legislation has been drafted must be even more severe tha...More Button

Well there is in effect a clawback. Let us say, for argument's sake that the residential valuation base is 100 units; on a grant of £10 they were getting £1,000 and the average refund over the previo...More Button

We are getting into the most extraordinary nonsensical situation with regard to the local government taxation base. Here is another example of it. The basis of a previous system of local taxation was...More Button

That might well be the case if the taxpayer was paying it in the way the Minister is suggesting. I am simply trying to establish a clear and uncomplicated local government taxation base. The amount ...More Button

It will then be necessary to go to each local authority and list those. If the amount of money made available to each local authority is reduced and the taxation base is increased, they are being giv...More Button

The Minister has introduced another factor into this. He has now informed the House that each year there will be consultations between every rating authority and officials from his Department to esta...More Button

I am trying to make the job of the Minister and that of his officials much easier. If we can cut out administrative nonsense, such as that which is implicit in this Bill, so that the Minister and his...More Button

The Minister is suggesting that taxpayers will specifically be making contributions to local authorities on the basis of property, on some of which rates would never have been collected before. While...More Button

It is not. I am trying to suggest that additional administrative work is being generated by this section. The Minister has admitted this.More Button

The Minister said that each year his officials will consult with representatives of local authorities specifically to establish——More Button

Our job with regard to this section would be made much easier if we had some understanding of the real way in which the rates for each local authority will be calculated. This is critical. I will be...More Button

There is a difficulty here. The Minister's objection to deleting this section is that the taxpayer would be paying extra money on the basis of valuations which could not, if there were no change in th...More Button

The Minister has a little more authority.More Button

The Minister is not standing in the shoes of the ratepayer to the extent that the ratepayers were not subject to a flat rate throughout the country, to which they will now be subject when this legisla...More Button

But those representatives have no function in effectively determining what the rate will be in their local authority area.More Button

The defence of the Minister in refusing to consider deleting this section is not altogether straightforward. He has been factually and legalistically correct in saying that property which was derelict...More Button

Written Answers. - Motor Insurance.

asked the Minister for the Environment if he will make arrangements with all motor taxation offices and local authorities throughout the country that a register or index of the motor insurance cover f...More Button

asked the Minister for the Environment the proposals, if any, involving the renegotiation of the present agreement dated 30 December 1964, between his Department and the Motor Insurance Bureau regardi...More Button


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