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Financial Resolution No. 9: Income Tax (Continued)

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 785 No. 2

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Deputy Kevin Humphreys: Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys I support this progressive resolution. I welcome Deputy Boyd Barrett's genuine submission. Fianna Fáil's contribution on the other hand is an absolute joke, saying "Do more", when they were in government for 14 years. It is hilarious.

Deputy Sean Fleming: Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming We brought in the universal social charge. That is why we are over here.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Deputy Kevin Humphreys without interruption.

Deputy Kevin Humphreys: Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys Parliamentary questions do not constitute a budget. A budget has to be assessed in its entirety. Asking questions to elicit answers is not putting forward a budget proposal. What Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin did was a joke; they formed a budget based on a number of parliamentary questions.

Deputy Michael McCarthy: Information on Michael McCarthy Zoom on Michael McCarthy It is hilarious.

Deputy Kevin Humphreys: Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys They did not submit it to the Department of Finance, as every other political party has done going back years. It is a joke and they know it. They are sitting there and are embarrassed by it.

Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn: Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn I am embarrassed by Deputy McCarthy referring to Department of Finance officials as clowns and amateurs.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Could we please have some respect for the speaker? I call Deputy Ciarán Lynch.

Deputy Ciarán Lynch: Information on Ciaran Lynch Zoom on Ciaran Lynch In making any negotiations, the starting position is to enter the process or get out of it. During the general election campaign Sinn Féin had an economic policy that meant we would run out of money on 1 July 2011. I thought they would have matured since then and that we would have engaged in a reasonable economic debate in terms of their budgetary proposals. Members of this House have said they have put parliamentary questions to the Department of Finance and it is a fact, but they have done so on a very selective basis. They have not undertaken a comprehensive examination. The only way that can be done on a budgetary proposal is by engaging with the service the Department of Finance facilitates. In answer to a parliamentary question, the Minister for Finance told my colleague, Deputy Arthur Spring, that no Opposition party had availed of that service. That is an irrefutable fact and I challenge anyone on the Opposition benches to deny it. I see Opposition Deputies have become silent.

Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn: Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn That is because the Leas-Cheann Comhairle told us to shut up.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Order, please.

Deputy Ciarán Lynch: Information on Ciaran Lynch Zoom on Ciaran Lynch It is amazing. I wish to paraphrase my colleague, Deputy McCarthy, who spoke about the circus. When I was a young lad, when the circus came to town they always rolled out the clowns first and I am glad to see that Deputy MacLochlainn is following in that tradition this evening.

Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn: Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn You should do stand-up. You are brilliant. I would pay to see you.

Deputy Sean Sherlock: Information on Seán Sherlock Zoom on Seán Sherlock We saw him first here.

Deputy Ciarán Lynch: Information on Ciaran Lynch Zoom on Ciaran Lynch One positive outcome of many in this budget is that every opposition party will avail of the service provided by the Department of Finance next year because they were found out this year.

Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I would like to respond to that. I have spent a lot of time looking at numbers and analysis. The no-change budget was released by the Department of Finance last Saturday. One cannot put a balanced budget together without that. Therefore the proposal that people on this side of the House can put a budget together and submit it to the Department of Finance - which can come back to say whether or not it will work - is nonsense. The only way one can put a balanced budget together is the way the Department of Finance does it, which is to look at the no-change budget. It is only when one sees the Estimates for 2013, for what would happen with no budget, that one can say "These are the things we are going to do".

Deputy Ciarán Lynch: Information on Ciaran Lynch Zoom on Ciaran Lynch The headline figure was €3.6 billion.

Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly It was only on Saturday that we found out the gap that had to be closed is €2.5 billion. One cannot put a balanced budget together without that.

Deputy Michael McCarthy: Information on Michael McCarthy Zoom on Michael McCarthy You can if you have a party leader's allowance of €80,000.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Deputy Donnelly has the floor.

Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly It cannot be done. The Deputy may not understand. I will explain it to him afterwards; it is not that complicated. It cannot be done.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg Zoom on Emmet Stagg I do not know how we managed before Deputy Donnelly came in here.

Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I will tell the Deputy what he has been doing - he has been submitting nonsense.

Deputy Michael McCarthy: Information on Michael McCarthy Zoom on Michael McCarthy The Deputy was not even elected to a county council before coming in here.

Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly It cannot be done without a no-change budget. The notion that the Deputy would not understand that after the amount of time he has spent in here absolutely baffles me.

Deputy Ciarán Lynch: Information on Ciaran Lynch Zoom on Ciaran Lynch Deputy Donnelly has become a populist.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Please calm down. Deputy Donnelly has just a few minutes left.

Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly If the Government wants members of the Opposition to submit proposals based on what would happen if nothing changed, and then they put in a budget to say that these are the things they would change, one has to have a no-change budget. Under the EU directives, we will have to submit no-change budgets to the EU in November because - contrary to the heckling - that is what their analysts need in order to examine the budget.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg Zoom on Emmet Stagg The Deputy should address the motion instead of lecturing us. Smart Alec.

Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly Next year, the Tánaiste might consider releasing the no-change budget three months in advance, as is standard practice all over the world.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt I call on the Tánaiste to reply and can we please have silence from other Deputies?

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore I do not know what we did at all before Deputy Donnelly was elected.

Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly You destroyed the country.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore No, not us. The Deputy is wrong about that. The people who destroyed the country are sitting a lot closer to him. They destroyed the country because they pursued an economic policy which is closer to what Deputy Donnelly has been advocating than what we have advocated.

Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly You tried to outbid them in every budget.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore Let us deal first with the issue of preparing alternative budgets. I and my colleagues spent 14 years in opposition from the time of the defeat of the then rainbow Government in 1997 until our re-election to Government in 2011. In that 14 years we prepared, each year, alternative budget proposals. We did so seriously. We went to the Department of Finance and asked it to cost various options. We did not do it on the back of an envelope based on replies to parliamentary questions. There is a facility which has been available for many years in the Department of Finance whereby Opposition parties' budgetary proposals are examined and costed. The departmental officials will give advice and say what one can or cannot do. Interestingly, and quite rightly so, when in opposition we were repeatedly asked by the media about our budget proposals. They scrutinised them and examined the money to see if it stacked up. It beggars belief that none of the Opposition parties, and none of the Opposition Independents it would appear, went into the Department of Finance to do any kind of serious examination of their budget proposals in advance of this budget.

Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I met them several times.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Please, Deputy.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore That is confirmed in reply to a parliamentary question tabled by Deputy Spring last week. Coming in here at this late hour and offering us very erudite reasons it could not be done and one could only do it from last Saturday is a load of old nonsense. The fact of the matter is that none of the Opposition parties took the job of opposition seriously enough to do a serious job of preparing proposals and having them properly costed.

Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly Rubbish.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore I regret that because it has also diminished the quality of the budget debate today. It means, for example, that Sinn Féin announced that it could raise €800 million through a wealth tax. However, somebody spotted that they announced the same last year and proposed that it would include pensions. It does not apparently include pensions this year, but the figure is still €800 million. Yet we have no explanation as to how it is done with pensions one year and without them the next.

Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn: Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn The Tánaiste is bluffing and blustering. He is only fooling himself and his choir.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore It also explains why we get proposals from Deputy Boyd Barrett who seems to think that the entire €3.5 billion budgetary adjustment can be made up by planting some additional taxes on multinational companies. Of course, it fits the kind of juvenile approach that Deputy Boyd Barrett has to politics and to economic proposals.


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