CAPE Clear islanders have hit out at government stamp duty imposed on their purchase of community land.
Islander Séamus Ó Drisceoil confirmed that a group of residents had recently purchased a parcel of land that once was owned by Chuck and Nell Kruger, founders of the Cape Clear International Storytelling Festival.
‘The 40 acres of land are in a location of outstanding natural beauty overlooking the South Harbour,’ said Séamus.
To date about 50% of the purchase price of €60,000 has been raised leaving a shortfall of €30,000, plus associated costs, which still have to be raised.
Mr Ó Drisceoil pointed out that the group has not received public support, or commercial sponsorship, of any kind for the initiative and he also expressed the group’s disappointment that they have been saddled with an additional bill for stamp duty amounting to €3,600.
He has called on the government to help the islanders in their efforts to ‘preserve in perpetuity public access to the most south-westerly headland in Ireland.’
According to Mr Ó Drisceoil, ‘our neighbouring EU countries have schemes whereby land purchases of this kind – which are in the public interest – can be funded.
‘Regrettably, in Ireland, the State response is to levy a substantial tax on a community group already struggling to raise funds.’
He said the local group do, however, want to thank everyone in the wider island, and the storytelling community who have supported the initiative by purchasing 10m2 and 5m2 plots for €100 and €50 respectively.
And he vowed to continue the plot purchase scheme to help defray the purchase price of the site and the costs of keeping the headland accessible to the public.