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 Header Item Leaders' Questions (Continued)
 Header Item Order of Business

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 785 No. 3

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  11 o’clock

(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte] Deputy Pringle raised the PRSI issue but he chose to ignore that for the first time in the history of the State, the best off in society will be required to declare unearned income from whatever source for PRSI purposes. That is part of refurbishing the social insurance fund. The people who are most dependent on the social insurance fund are not those paid €100,000 or €200,000 or more, because they get the same pension as someone on €20,000; those who get most from the social insurance fund are those on modest and low incomes. The social insurance fund is in dire trouble and we must maintain that fund as an act of solidarity with those on low and modest incomes. That is what we are doing. No one earning less than €18,300 will be liable for the PRSI disallowance, and no one earning less than €10,600 is liable for the universal social charge because we took 330,000 people out of the universal social charge net last year. The social insurance fund is the one insurance policy people on modest and low incomes have in an uncertain world and in preparation for their senior years. In terms of the overall changes, they are well balanced and well judged. What is more important for people than to have that safety net if they should come to need it, as they will when they reach pension age?

Deputy Thomas Pringle: Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle Now the troika is being blamed for the PRSI increase; it was forced upon the Government. That must be what the Minister is telling the Labour Party backbenchers to make them accept this.

The Irish League of Credit Unions offered the Government €5 billion for investment but the Government would not take it. There are other lenders that could be tapped into. The social insurance fund is in deficit and in a recession it should be, while in good times it should be built up again. We have been funding the social insurance fund through the recession from Government revenue. Does the Minister think it is fair to tell people on €18,000 per year that they should lose €264 from their wages and that it is balanced by charging PRSI on those with high incomes? The Labour Party tried to have the universal social charge increased but it lost that battle with Fine Gael and now it is introducing this PRSI increase. The Labour Party should have refused unless one was done in exchange for the other. It could not even manage that. There is no fairness in this budget for the low paid and all the other items people have identified today. How can the Minister still claim that is a reasonable outcome?

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte We want to ensure that in future people who are unfortunate enough to temporarily lose their employment or who reach retirement age are protected as far as the State can do it. It does it quite well; it does it better than comparable states in the OECD or the European Union. It does it better than the northern state adjacent to Deputy Pringle. I am proud of that. For Deputy Pringle to sneer at the troika's injunctions simply means he does not have to contend with them.

Deputy Thomas Pringle: Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle No one is sneering.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte There is no sentiment; the troika lends us money, setting conditions for that, and we comply with those conditions or it does not sign the cheque. There is no mystery to this.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath What about Greece?

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte What about Greece? There are people hungry at the bottom of the pile in Greece.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath There are hungry people here too. They cannot live on rabbit.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte Tens of thousands of public servants have been disemployed.

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath The Minister wants to pull a rabbit of the hat.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte People who are paying the USC in this country on as little as €10,000 are liable to full tax in Greece and many other impositions. If colleagues on the Opposition benches think we should go the way of Greece, this Government does not agree.

Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan: Information on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan Zoom on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan No one said that.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte Deputy Pringle refuses to acknowledge decisions in the budget like slashing tax relief on pension pots for people who expect a pension of more than €60,000.

Deputy Róisín Shortall: Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall When?

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte He refused to acknowledge the mansion tax on homes worth more than €1 million.

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath Will the Minister pay that?

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte He ignored the 3% increase in USC for better off pensioners.

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath Will the Minister pay the mansion tax?

Deputy Robert Troy: Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy How many homes will that affect?

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte I will not trace along the benches there on that one because it would not be helpful.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Only Deputy Pringle is asking questions.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte We have extended PRSI to all incomes and made changes to capital gains tax, capital acquisitions tax and DIRT, all of which affect the better off. In so far as the Government had it within its power, it took money from those best able to pay.

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath Except the respite care grant.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte Everyone must contribute something.

Deputy Patrick Nulty: Information on Patrick Nulty Zoom on Patrick Nulty Why did the Labour Party not impose a financial transaction tax? It is Labour Party policy.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte For those who need a safety net, however, the safety net has been protected and we are proud of that.

Order of Business

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte It is proposed to take No. 1, motion re Standing Orders Relative to Private Business; No. 12a, Supplementary Estimate for Public Services [Vote 37] (back from committee); No. 19, Financial Motions by the Minister for Finance 2012, motion 15 (resumed); and No. 17, Statements on the Report of the Expert Group on the Judgment in the A, B and C v. Ireland Case (resumed). No. 17 will be taken not later than 4.30 p.m. today and adjourn not later than 9.15 p.m.

  It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 5.45 p.m. tonight and shall adjourn on the conclusion of Topical Issues. The sitting shall be suspended at 3 p.m. for 30 minutes. Topical Issues shall be taken on the adjournment of No. 17 and Nos. 1 and 12a shall be decided without debate. In the case of No. 12a, any division demanded thereon shall be taken forthwith. The following arrangements shall apply for the resumed debate on No. 19: the speech of the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and the leaders of Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Technical Group, or persons nominated in their stead, who shall be called upon in that order, shall not exceed 30 minutes in each case and such Members may share their time and the speech of each other Member called upon, who may share his time, shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case. The Dáil shall sit tomorrow at 10.30 a.m. and shall adjourn not later than 4 p.m. and there shall be no Order of Business within the meaning of Standing Order 26 and accordingly, the business to be transacted shall be as follows: No. 2, Transport (Córas Iompair Éireann and Subsidiary Companies Bill 2012 [Seanad] - Second Stage, which shall if not previously concluded be brought to a conclusion at 1.30 p.m.; and No. 17 Statements on the Report of the Expert Group on the Judgments in the A, B and C v. Ireland Case (resumed).

  The Dáil shall sit on Monday, 10 December 2012 at 10.30 a.m. and shall adjourn not later than 4.30 p.m. and there shall be no Order of Business within the meaning of Standing Order 26 and accordingly the business to be transacted shall be: No. 17, Statements on the Report of the Expert Group on the Judgment in the A, B and C v. Ireland Case (resumed).


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