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Why is government afraid of a hotel bedroom tax?

10 August 2018

Statement by Cllr Mary Freehill

Labour Councillor and former Lord Mayor, Mary Freehill has asked why the Government is afraid of a hotel bedroom tax, which is the norm in cities across the world. It would raise €15 million a year in Dublin for investment in public amenities and cultural facilities.

Cllr Freehill said:

“Dublin needs an hotel and Guest House Bed night tax to raise much needed money for promoting the city’s cultural life.

"Why is this Government afraid of this good idea? Instead we see reports that the Government is considering increasing the VAT rate for Hotels and Restaurants.

"Over the years we, the Labour Group proposed and Dublin City Council has voted for a bed night tax which would bring us in line with almost every other city in Europe, USA and Asia, only to be ignored by central government.

"Right now Dublin is doing very well as a tourist location but the extra costs involved is met by Dublin City Council services and not central Government.

"As this Government  has removed so many powers from Local Government, this is an opportunity to balance the unfair financial position suffered by Dublin. Because of the Equalisation Fund, which means that DCC only receives 80% of Local Property Tax collected (20% is distributed to local authorities throughout the country) Dublin City Council collects €79.78m but  €15.82million of that goes to other County Councils throughout the country.

"This is an opportunity for the Government to agree to a 1% Bed Night Tax for the City. It would accrue €15m per annum to the city.   Its important to point out that due to cut backs,  Dublin City Council has suffered 20% drop in Staff over the past 8 years  and consequently services to the citizen and the City  have suffered very badly.

Cllr Freehill added:

“Ireland’s centralised Government system is obsessed with holding most of its powers in Leinster House, as a member of the European Committee of the Regions, I can see the difference in the powers of local government in other member states, and their structures adhere to subsidiarity and democracy which gives a greater voice to citizens in decision making. We are so much out of kilter with the rest of Europe that our centralised system is much more like Russia."

ENDS

Mary Freehill is a Labour Councillor elected for the Rathmines Rathgar area and can be contacted at 086 812 6378

Background information

Hotel and Guest house occupancy in Dublin city is 83% all year round, average cost per night €140, there are 35,700 beds in Dublin and this is  rapidly growing.