Kerry hands over €15m in tax

VARAD­KAR’S PLANS FOR PROP­ERTY TAX COULD LEAD TO KERRY WIND­FALL

The Kerryman (North Kerry) - - NEWS - By SI­MON BROUDER By SINEAD KELLE­HER

KERRY County Coun­cil could be in for a tax wind­fall worth up to €3mil­lion a year if Taoiseach Leo Varad­kar presses ahead with his plans to re­vise the prop­erty tax sys­tem.

Last month Mr Varad­kar flew a po­lit­i­cal kite sug­gest­ing that ex­ten­sive changes are needed to how prop­erty tax rev­enues are spread around the coun­try.

At present all prop­erty tax is pooled na­tion­ally and used to pay for ser­vices in all local au­thor­ity ar­eas.

Typ­i­cally the sys­tem – which is de­signed to en­sure ar­eas less well off ben­e­fit equally from the tax – sees local au­thor­i­ties re­ceive fund­ing worth about 80 per cent of the local prop­erty tax take.

Un­der his new pro­posal, Mr Varad­kar is seek­ing to ringfence prop­erty tax for the spe­cific ar­eas it comes from, mean­ing any cash raised from the own­ers of prop­er­ties in Kerry would be used to fund ser­vices in the county.

Based on the prop­erty tax statis­tics for 2018, which were pub­lished by Rev­enue this week, the pro­posal could have pos­i­tive im­pli­ca­tions for Kerry which, thanks largely to the sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of hol­i­day prop­er­ties in the county, would be one of the big­gest ben­e­fi­cia­ries of any such change.

Ac­cord­ing to the Rev­enue fig­ures, €15.1 mil­lion in prop­erty taxes were col­lected from the own­ers of 69,100 Kerry prop­er­ties in 2018.

Based on that, and un­der cur­rent rules, Kerry County Coun­cil could ex­pect to re­ceive about €12mil­lion in funds from the state.

Were the Taoiseach’s pro­pos­als to come into force – and they are likely to meet stern op­po­si­tion – Kerry County Coun­cil’s cof­fers could be up to €3mil­lion bet­ter off. MORE than 15 win­dows were bro­ken in the old con­vent hall in Ca­her­siveen on St Stephen’s night and thou­sands of Eu­ros worth of dam­age was caused by van­dals, who it is be­lieved went on a drink­ing binge in the old build­ing, which is cur­rently be­ing used as a stor­age fa­cil­ity by local man, John Quirke.

Mr Quirke was alerted to the in­ci­dent the morn­ing af­ter by his son, John, and couldn’t be­lieve the dam­age caused when he went to the scene. Two youths were in the build­ing at the time, and it is un­der­stood that they were taken to Kil­lar­ney Garda Sta­tion for ques­tion­ing in re­la­tion to the in­ci­dent. They were from out­side the Ca­her­siveen area, it is un­der­stood.

“It was in an aw­ful bad state. They caused thou­sands in dam­age. The win­dows alone are worth thou­sands. I couldn’t be­lieve the de­struc­tion caused,” Mr Quirke said.

This is the sec­ond time that the old con­vent hall, once a so­cial hub of the town, has been dam­aged by van­dals. The last in­ci­dent in Oc­to­ber also in­volved dam­age to the con­tents of the build­ing but the St Stephen’s night in­ci­dent was much more se­ri­ous.

This in­ci­dent, Mr Quirke be­lieves, is re­lated to anti-so­cial be­hav­iour in the town, and he called for more garda ac­tion to counter such in­ci­dents.

Shock­ingly, more crim­i­nal dam­age oc­curred on De­cem­ber 27, the night af­ter Mr Quirke boarded up the bro­ken win­dows. Van­dals re­turned that night and spray-painted the build­ing. In a sin­is­ter move, they put masks on some of the win­dows.

Dur­ing the Oc­to­ber in­ci­dent, fur­ni­ture was set alight, and dur­ing the Christ­mas pe­riod se­ri­ous dam­age was also caused to fur­ni­ture in­side the build­ing.

Mr Quirke, who is a well-known builder, uses the old con­vent house for stor­age for fur­ni­ture and other build­ing ma­te­ri­als.

“It is fright­en­ing what is go­ing on,” said Mr Quirke.

Cllr Norma Mo­ri­arty has spo­ken to gar­daí in re­la­tion to the in­ci­dent and she be­lieves that a com­mu­nity alert is needed. A meet­ing is to take place tonight, Wed­nes­day, in re­la­tion to plans for a com­mu­nity alert.

Gar­daí in Ca­her­siveen have con­firmed that they are in­ves­ti­gat­ing all in­ci­dents and that ar­rests have been made. They are await­ing foren­sic re­sults for the Oc­to­ber in­ci­dent.

BE­LOW: A mask and spray paint left by van­dals over the Christ­mas pe­riod.

LEFT: Some of the dam­age caused by van­dals at the old con­vent hall in Ca­her­siveen.

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