Police and protesters clash outside Government Buildings
following the unveiling of the 2013 Irish Budget in Dublin.
Ireland has announced a new property tax, a move likely
to be unpopular with homeowners at a time when many are deep in
negative equity and struggling to pay mortgages.
The tax was the most contentious element in the country's
sixth successive austerity budget, part of a drawn-out bid to
balance the books under the terms of an EU-IMF bailout taken
after a property crash ravaged the economy.
The annual charge of 0.18 percent of a property's value will
replace a flat 100 euro annual charge for local services
introduced at the start of the year that sparked large
protests and spawned a national non-payment campaign.
Some 500,000 people, or 31 percent of households, have yet to
pay that charge and campaigners say they will resist the new
"The jump from a 100 euros household charge to a much higher
bill will be too much for many families," said Ruth
Coppinger, a spokeswoman for the campaign against higher
household and water charges who will lead fresh protests to
fight the tax.
"They are expected to pay more and more each year that they
just haven't got."
In a bid to block a new campaign of non-payment, the
government will deduct the tax from the wages of employees
when it is introduced in July.
Ireland's battle with property-related charges extends back
to 1978 when a local tax was scrapped. Similar charges were
reintroduced from 1983 for almost a decade, only to be
discarded amid widespread defaults and claims that it was
During the boom the government secured a significant portion
of its revenues from a stamp duty on property sales. After
the crash, it cut it significantly to try to revive the
"Four years after a property crash, the government still
can't think outside the box to generate revenue ... it all
comes back to property," said Tom Daly, a homeowner from
Rathgar, a middle class Dublin suburb.
The property crash hit young first-time buyers the hardest,
with many now struggling to hang onto their homes in negative
equity, paying for mortgages often higher than the value of
Over half of all Irish mortgages are in negative equity, as a
result of the deepening European crisis and the stagnant
The typical price of a property in Ireland is about 150,000
euros, and based on that figure the average property tax bill
will amount to about 300 euros, which will be collected by
"This will be a divisive tax, which will hit all home owners
but especially penalises home owners in Dublin, Cork and
other major urban centres," said Michael McGrath, the shadow
"Thousands of families and individuals will simply be unable