New tax will target religious orders

A new tax aimed at developers who hoard land will also target religious congregations including contemplative orders like the Poor Clare Sisters whose convents have sometimes been situated for many years in what are often now becoming crowded urban settings.

The issue came to light after An Bord Pleanala slapped down a plea from the Poor Clares in Cork City to exempt them from the Residential Zoned Land Tax (RZLT), The Irish Catholic reports.

Speaking to The Irish Catholic, Cork TD, Michael Collins, said “this order has been in Cork for decades and decades. I would think that’s totally unacceptable that they are being faced with this concern and worry on them.”

Local Fianna Fáil TD Padraig O’Sullivan has vowed to bring the Poor Clare’s case before the Minister for Finance [Michael McGrath, pictured], saying “common sense has to prevail”.

“When [the tax] was first envisaged, I don’t think anomalies like this would have been foreseen… if there’s anything I can do, I’ll make representation for them.”

Other convents and monasteries are also affected. It remains unclear whether the RZLT will be amended to exclude them and not treat them as property developers and land hoarders.