‘Why should we have to pay property tax?’

Mick and Louise McEvoy at their home in Drumlish this week.
Residents living in an unfinished housing estate in Drumlish have launched a stinging attack on a government decision to include their homes in the State’s newly revised property tax guidelines.

Residents living in an unfinished housing estate in Drumlish have launched a stinging attack on a government decision to include their homes in the State’s newly revised property tax guidelines.

Homeowners from ‘Glasheen’, a residential development in Drumlish reacted with fury this week, after learning that they would have to pay the property tax.

Mick McEvoy and his wife, Louise moved to Longford in 2009 from their previous home in Dublin.

They paid €195,000 for their four bedroom detached home, which they believed would be part of a 25 house development with a creche and landscaped gardens.

Four years on, the retired couple occupy just one of six houses on the estate.

“When you look out the back (window), it just looks like a building site, so why should we have to pay?” asked Louise, reacting to the Government’s revised property tax exemption list.

However, Department of Environment officials had already declined to incorporate the unfinished estate last year in the original list of sites that had been spared the €100 household charge.

“In July we will owe €200 (for household charge) if we don’t pay by then and now they (Revenue Commissioners) have told us our home is in the €100,000 to €200,000 region for the property tax. We don’t mind paying if you are getting something for it, but what are we getting?”

In a further twist, the estate’s developers have in recent weeks returned to Glasheen in a bid to complete further units.

“A lighting application is ready to go in this week,” said well-known developer Larry Keogh.

“It’s certainly not a ghost estate. In fact, we will be ready to launch houses in around three weeks.”

But homewoners still believe the development should be exempted from the property tax list and last week they handed in a petition to Longford County Council.

Local councillor Martin Mulleady has also held talks with council chiefs as efforts continue to ensure Glasheen residents qualify for the property tax waiver.

“I have always said that I was never against the household charge, that was for people to make up their own minds about,” he said. “But this estate is still under construction and it should be exempt.”

Yet for homeowners like the McEvoy’s the chances of securing a last minute u-turn appear increasingly unlikely.

“We just don’t think we should have to pay it,” said Mick.

“Nobody is telling us anything. It’s just not fair.”