Seanad debates

Friday, 16 July 2021

Finance (Local Property Tax) (Amendment) Bill 2021: Committee and Remaining Stages

 

9:30 am

Photo of Barry WardBarry Ward (Fine Gael)

Listening to Senator Gavan, I am obviously sympathetic to anybody who is suffering from defective building materials and many people around the country are in dire situations. In that regard, a scheme is being put in place and that is a debate for another day.

Looking at the amendment that is being proposed, however, even if Senator Gavan is serious about addressing this issue and if he genuinely has concerns that this section is, as he said, unworkable, the notion that his amendment No. 1 could be implemented to allow the householder to form a view that he or she was entitled to the exemption essentially must also be unworkable. One could not have a situation where a householder was allowed to form a view that his or her property had been damaged as a result of defective concrete blocks. Without any safeguards or tests or any other aspects or qualifiers, I could form the view that my house, which thank God is not affected by defective building materials, is affected and thereby apply for and seek an exemption.

Perhaps Senator Gavan is right. I would be interested to hear what the Minister has to say about it. What this Bill is trying to do, however, is create an even playing field where people can establish, as a matter of fact, that there is an issue rather than having a situation which to my mind, I respectfully suggest, would be a free-for-all where anybody could say they have formed the view that they fall into this category, and therefore, should be entitled to an exemption. Whether the section itself is unworkable, I do not know. I believe there is a good and reasonable effort here and I accept the criticisms of it. What is proposed is totally unworkable in my opinion, however.

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