Article from the May 2005 edition, the Socialist
paper of the Socialist Party, the CWI in Ireland.

Estate management double tax

by Councillor Ruth Coppinger

A MILLIONAIRE gets his grass cut and streets cleaned from his central taxes - but ordinary residents in Castlecurragh, Mulhuddart (Dublin West), must pay on the double. This scandal is all the more amazing given that 500 out of 700 homes in Castlecurragh are social and affordable; the remainder being modestly-priced private housing.

This unjust anomaly is because Fingal County Council chose not to provide normal services on the estate, but to farm those services out to a private management company and to make the residents pay. This is double taxation of the residents and a privatisation of the estate.

The Socialist Party is totally opposed to this set up. All local services should be funded from our booming tax revenues. We welcome the decision of residents to hold a referendum to determine whether or not they want to continue with a management company set up or be taken in charge by the Council.

We also believe people signed these contracts to get a roof over their heads. Many believed it was a one-off payment; most were unaware of the consequences, a bill of up to e300 a year when you exclude structural insurance.

A crisis now faces Castlecurragh residents: the management and landscape company have both pulled out because most people have not been able to afford to pay these fees. Huge pressure will now be put on residents to pay re-issued invoices to try get another managing agent on board.

Councillors and TDs should be lobbied to demand an end to privatised estates. Residents need to get organised to force the Council to take responsibility to provide a decent level of public services on all estates.

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