Video: Government's vacant property tax is 'laughable'; Co Clare grave robber avoid jail

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Vacant property tax is laughable, Dáil hears

The Government’s vacant property tax of 0.3 per cent has been criticised as “laughable” during Tuesday’s Dáil debate which was dominated by the housing crisis.

It comes after a report by a banking lobby group found that rents in Ireland have increased by more than 80 per cent in 12 years, compared with an average increase of just 18 per cent across the rest of the EU.

The report found that a substantial increase in housing supply would be needed before house prices and rent prices would fall.

During Leaders’ Questions, Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall was among the three opposition TDs who raised the stark findings of the report.

Co Clare grave robber avoids jail

A 42-year-old woman who “indiscriminately” stole from and desecrated graves in Co Clare has narrowly avoided being sent to jail.

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At Killaloe District Court sitting in Ennis today, Judge Mary Larkin instead imposed 120 hours of community service on Mairead O’Sullivan for 18 separate theft offences concerning items with a combined value of €597.50 stolen from graves at three cemeteries.

Judge Larkin initially imposed a four-month prison term on Ms O’Sullivan but instead ordered the Ennis woman to carry out the community service after solicitor for Ms O’Sullivan, Tara Godfrey said that her client would be very willing to carry out the community service.

State will go beyond target of 4,500 student beds

The Higher Education Minister has claimed that the Government will go beyond the target of helping construct 4,500 student beds over the next few years.

The State is to subsidise thousands of student accommodation beds in a bid to plug the shortage of student housing across the country.

Simon Harris initially set a target of helping to fund the construction of 4,500 student beds through a new government strategy, however only 700 places have been approved in Maynooth, Limerick and Galway.

Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Harris said his department is still engaging with Dublin City University (DCU) and University College Dublin (UCD) about future plans.

Amber Heard appeals defamation trial

Amber Heard has sought to appeal against the verdict in her multimillion-dollar US defamation lawsuit against Johnny Depp, arguing that it will have a “chilling” effect on other women.

Lawyers for the Aquaman star said the case “should never have gone to trial” and criticised the decision to allow it to go ahead in Fairfax, in Virginia.

Ms Heard was sued by Mr Depp over a 2018 article she wrote for the Washington Post about her experiences as a survivor of domestic abuse, which his lawyers said falsely accused him of being an abuser.

In June this year, a jury at Fairfax County Court returned a verdict in his favour and he was awarded $10.3 million for damage to his reputation.

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