Frequently Asked Questions

 

ASSERTION 1: ‘The Green Party just cost us more tax.’

Carbon Tax

  1. The carbon tax was used to fund insulation schemes for homes which created jobs and ultimately helped homeowners save energy and money.
  2. It was also used to extend the winter fuel payment (the current government have cut it).
  3. It was also used to reduce PRSI to help employers take on workers (current government have doubled it).
  4. It is essential to reduce carbon for the sake of our children and grandchildren, we have already seen the effects of increased flooding and more extreme weather events we have to listen to and act on the science.
  5. In an ideal world people wouldn’t waste energy but time and time again we’ve found that most Irish people only respond to financial penalties. Hopefully that will change.

Car Tax

  1. The tax on smaller cars went down when the Green Party were in government, which increased the sale of smaller cars.
  2. Minister Hogan has increased the tax rates for all cars since he came into office.
  3. We believe that those who pollute our air the most should pay the highest price and so will always seek to support owners of cars with lower emissions.

Water Charges

  1. As with energy, we believe that to focus people’s minds on conservation we need to reward those who are economical with this expensive resource and we believe that currently the best way to do this is with metering.
  2. For the reason stated in point 1 above, we do not support a flat-rate charge.
  3. The Green Party wants people to have a free allowance to cover normal usage. Only people who waste water, or use excessive amounts, would have to pay for the excess used. It is unfair for people to have to pay extra taxes to provide expensive treated water so some people can use it to water lawns and wash cars.  We do not support a semi-state body spending millions on consultancy fees.

Property Tax

  1. The current Property tax takes no account of ability to pay and fails to promote good usage of land. The Green Party has always favoured a site value tax on all land excluding agricultural land. This looks at the value of the actual land itself, not including the value of any building (i.e. house) or improvement that has been made to it. Such a tax is not subject to the fluctuations of the property market. It also acts as an incentive to those who own high value sites (such as inner city sites) but who fail to develop them. The current Property Tax should replaced with this more efficient site value tax model, along with protections for those on fixed incomes and taking account of large stamp duties paid during the boom years.
  2. Wording of Motion passed at convention in 2014

The Green Party/ Comhaontas Glas accepts the benefits of introducing a properly implemented and fair site valuation tax. However, we abhor the ultra right-wing style of a ‘land-grab’ penal property tax introduced by the Fine Gael / Labour Party coalition. We propose that the Household Charge be rescinded and not be replaced with any similar type of charge until there is a total overhaul of the taxation and local government system, to include directly-elected Mayors and corresponding transparent practices and policies in the local collection and expenditure of taxes.

  1. We also believe that retired people should be allowed to defer the payment of property tax, at a low interest rate, until house is sold.

 

ASSERTION 2: ‘You are too small’

  1. The Green Party was small when Trevor Sergeant exposed the bribery of councilors that was going on in Dublin County Council.
  2. Green Party councillors made huge improvements to the national building regulations, which have resulted in better quality homes and lower energy bills by using powers at local level.
  3. We are the reason that posters must be taken down within 7 days after elections.
  4. We brought in legislation to allow civil partnership while we were in government.
  5. The Planning Act that we brought forward can prevent corrupt re-zonings that were a key factor in the banking collapse. The county development plans are decided on through public consultation and a democratic vote, councillors cannot now change the land zonings in the Development Plan without the authorization of the Minister of the Environment.       John Gormley while minister stopped agricultural land being zoned for thousands of new houses which would have ended up as ghost estates. So all we need is a sound minister for the environment, oh, wait,

ASSERTION 3: ‘You shouldn’t have gone into government with FF’ 

  1. We went into government because we wanted to get a lot done on topics like education, transport, equality. – It obviously didn’t go as well as we hoped, but we even as a small party managed to get some good stuff done: home insulation, planning reform, civil partnerships. – It obviously didn’t end well, but we have a lot to offer.
  2. Why be involved in politics, if you don’t want to participate in government and bring in policies you believe in? We also decided to pull out when the IMF arrived (but negotiated acceptance of budget first so we didn’t end up like Greece or Italy).
  3. Should we have waited for FG with Phil Hogan and Labour’s Willie Penrose who cancelled the inquiries into planning ‘irregularities’ which the GP had set up ready to go?

OTHER ISSUES

 

Lack of Affordable Housing

  1. When in government John Gormley managed to halve the number on the housing waiting list from 2007 to 2011. This was despite cutbacks in the worst years of the recession. The latest figures for Winter 2013 are over 30% HIGHER than in 2007 (139).

 

Fracking

  1. Wording of Motion passed at convention in 2014.

The Green Party supports Leitrim County council in banning “unconventional oil/gas exploration and extraction projects/operations” within their county, and also supports an immediate and outright ban on the exploration and extraction of Shale Gas by the fraction of Shale rock by hydraulics, cryogenics or similar purpose technology generally known as Fracking.

 

Fluoride

  1. The text below was included in the Final Draft policy of the Health Promotion and Health Protection which came before National council on the 20th of June 2009. To date this policy has not been revised and so currently stands.

 

“8.6 The Green Party acknowledges the continuing concerns of many people regarding health risks associated with fluoridation of water and favours the phasing out of water fluoridation.   The Party also acknowledges a substantial body of evidence that fluoridation of water reduces the incidence of tooth decay particularly in groups of the population that do not regularly brush their teeth and visit the dentist.  Targeted public programmes to improve education and practice related to oral hygiene and improve access to dental care in Ireland represent another approach to achieve the public health objective of water fluoridation in a way that is less controversial.   While the practice of fluoridation continues it must be strictly monitored to ensure that the level of fluoride in water is maintained at the lowest possible level that provides protection against tooth decay.  Local authorities should provide information to document the level of fluoride in water supplies and provide access to information on domestic systems for removal of fluoride for those who do not wish to use fluoridated water.”

“15.32 The Green Party supports targeted public programmes to improve education and practice related to oral hygiene and improve access to dental care and the phasing our of water fluoridation.”

 

PROPOSALS FOR THE FUTURE at local level

  1. Development of safe routes to schools (proposal by Dublin Cycling Campaign & others)
  2. Change by-laws to allow (some) subdivision of houses which would give more flexibility in Sub-urban areas.
  3. Clearer publication of budgets, and proposals.
  4. Introduce by-law to make people responsible for maintaining their properties, including trees and gardens.
  5. Posters confined to specially erected displays, one per village/shopping centre.

 

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