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Confidence in the Government: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members] (Continued)

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 786 No. 2

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  8 o’clock

Deputy Martin Ferris: Information on Martin Ferris Zoom on Martin Ferris Go back to the people, then.

Deputy Pearse Doherty: Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty The Government is cutting child benefit.

(Interruptions).

Acting Chairman (Deputy Liam Twomey): Information on Liam Twomey Zoom on Liam Twomey Can I ask all Deputies to show respect? Deputy Byrne and Deputy Ferris, please.

Deputy Eric Byrne: Information on Eric J. Byrne Zoom on Eric J. Byrne A little less of Sinn Féin's histrionics.

(Interruptions).

Acting Chairman (Deputy Liam Twomey): Information on Liam Twomey Zoom on Liam Twomey Deputy Ferris and Deputy Byrne, please show some respect to each other, if not to the House, and let the speakers make their speeches properly. Deputy Paschal Donohoe has three minutes.

(Interruptions).

Deputy Paschal Donohoe: Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The Sinn Féin general election manifesto simply states that Sinn Féin is committed to no further drawing down of the EU-IMF loan. It goes on to say that for the remainder of 2011 resources from the National Pensions Reserve Fund and Exchequer funding from the Central Bank should be used to run the State. This is very simple. Having campaigned on a platform of telling the troika to go home, those in Sinn Féin would now come in here and happily troop up to meet them every 12 weeks.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh What is he talking about?

Deputy Paschal Donohoe: Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe Their performance in the 31st Dáil has been an exercise in studied and deliberate cynicism. Their agenda is simple: to replace another party as Leader of the Opposition.

Deputy Dessie Ellis: Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis Fine Gael has done that. It is all right.

Deputy Paschal Donohoe: Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe Their view is that nothing can be allowed to get in the way of this, not even the truth. The truth is perfectly simple: our country, due to the efforts of our people, is slowly but steadily fighting our way out of bankruptcy. The people are faced with choices that are neither of their making nor of the making of this Government. The truth is that Sinn Féin has taken the mantle of Fianna Fáil. That party, whose members are absent this evening, proudly proclaimed when in government that when it had money it would spend it. We still do not have the money but those in Sinn Féin still want to spend it.

Deputy Peadar Tóibín: Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín The Government is spending it on bailing out the banks.

Deputy Paschal Donohoe: Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe Their explanation of where this money is coming from shows the real depths of their cynicism. As the Government works to stabilise our banks and get deposits back in order that can be lent out to Irish businesses and families, Sinn Féin wants to impose a wealth tax on them. Such a wealth tax would get the same deposits to move out of the country, further weakening the banks and condemning our people to another cycle of bank runs and bank bailouts.

Deputy Dessie Ellis: Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis It would go to other parts of Europe.

Deputy Paschal Donohoe: Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe We need not pore over the leaflets printed by Deputy Ó Snodaigh to see what Sinn Féin does in Ireland, because its role in the Northern Ireland Assembly already makes it clear. It is implementing a property tax up there while it opposes one here.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald They are rates.

Deputy Paschal Donohoe: Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I was aware that Sinn Féin was advocating a two-state solution for the Middle East but I did not realise it was advocating the same solution for our economic crisis here. It is a case of partition when it suits Sinn Féin.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Deputy Paschal Donohoe: Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe Due to the solidarity and support of the people, the Government has succeeded in creating an environment in which growth can return. There are some signs of stability, lower borrowing and jobs being created after years of job losses.

Deputy Peadar Tóibín: Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín There are lower wages too.

Deputy Paschal Donohoe: Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe As Sinn Féin is consumed by getting its numbers up in the opinion polls, we are driven by getting the numbers down on the live register and down on our monthly borrowing needs.

Deputy Martin Ferris: Information on Martin Ferris Zoom on Martin Ferris That is due to emigration.

Deputy Paschal Donohoe: Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The Sinn Féin finance spokesperson said: "[I]t is my firm belief that in the second half of 2013 Ireland will be unable to return to the markets and will need additional financial intervention by the EU and IMF." We are back in the markets now. This is typical of the gospel of despair and the Sinn Féin agenda of anger. It is an indictment of all it stands for that when our country is back at work and when we wave goodbye to the troika, the only people that will still be disappointed and angry will be those in be Sinn Féin.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Minister of State at the Department of Finance (Deputy Brian Hayes): Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes I am pleased to have the opportunity to make some remarks. What is absolutely clear in this debate is that those in the Sinn Féin Party would say anything, do anything and lie about anything as a means of taking control in Ireland.

Deputy Dessie Ellis: Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis He should ask the Minister, Deputy Pat Rabbitte, about that.

Deputy Peadar Tóibín: Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín What about the Labour Party manifesto?

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes I did not interrupt the Deputy yesterday. I notice that every time the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste inform the House of a jobs announcement on a Wednesday or a Thursday and every time they give the House information which is important for the people, the heads drop across the floor because they do not want to hear the good news.

A Deputy: Hear, hear.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes Sinn Féin's tactic has always been to maximise its own political ends, as we know well from Northern Ireland. Those in Sinn Féin have no interest in the future or in getting the country back to work because it does not suit their political agenda. The Sinn Féin tactic has been exposed, particularly in its most recent pre-budget submission. Only two weeks ago Deputy McDonald and I debated on national television. It was clear that she did not know the Sinn Féin pre-budget submission, but I do not blame her for that because it changes every 12 hours. The Sinn Féin position changed suddenly. After the election Deputy Doherty said they would get rid of the universal social charge. As Deputy Donohoe reminded the House recently, the first motion in the House from Sinn Féin sought to get rid of it. Where stands the Sinn Féin commitment on that now?

Deputy Pearse Doherty: Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty Some 286,000 people would get out of the universal social charge under our pre-budget submission.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Liam Twomey): Information on Liam Twomey Zoom on Liam Twomey No interruptions, please. Deputy Brian Hayes.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes I see the angry young man is back with us. The same decibels will not work.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Liam Twomey): Information on Liam Twomey Zoom on Liam Twomey Minister, please.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes It is fascinating. When one examines all of Sinn Féin's promises on VAT, the universal social charge and, as the Tánaiste noted, on wealth, the numbers do not add up. The Sinn Féin objective of getting €800 million from a wealth tax was based on a reply to one parliamentary question from the Department of Finance. That is brilliant. If ever there was an example of North Korean economics and a go-it-alone approach, it was from our colleagues opposite.

(Interruptions).

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes There is a good deal of similarity between the United Kingdom Independence Party in Britain and Sinn Féin. Sinn Féin and the UKIP are both anti-European parties, both ultra-nationalist parties and they both want their countries to fail.

Deputy Peadar Tóibín: Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín So says the Fine Gael Tory boy.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes The most recent antics of Sinn Féin's pre-budget submission and the antics with regard to the motion in the House this evening have shown that they have nothing to offer the people and they have been badly exposed.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Liam Twomey): Information on Liam Twomey Zoom on Liam Twomey I call the Minister of State at the Department of Health, Deputy Alex White. There are only three minutes left in the slot.

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White There has been much talk about choice in this debate. It is true that there are some limited choices because of the constraints the Government and the State are facing, but there are choices nevertheless.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams Ask Deputy Róisín Shortall about that.

Deputy Alex White: Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The motion is premised on the notion that there is an altogether different way of addressing the crisis we are in and that a grand plan is available, a better plan with an alternative strategy, which, if the Government would only yield to it, would solve all our problems. That is a manifest falsehood. No other combination of parties or Deputies in this House has advanced such a plan. No other combination of parties or Deputies in the House could form a credible government or a government that could even begin to address the problems faced by the people in anything like a fair and balanced way, as we are doing. One need only look around. What other combination of Deputies could achieve a majority in this House? Certainly, no government involving the Fianna Fáil party could command even the minimum level of support or respect from the people, given what it is responsible for. As for those in the Sinn Féin party that tabled the motion, they are perpetrating a fraud on the people. To demonstrate this one need only take a cursory glance at their submission. I am referring directly to their submission; it is not an idle attack from anywhere. They have chalked down €800 million in revenue from a wealth tax, a tax that excludes working farms expressly and not by implication. Can they define working farms?

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae It is not rocket science.

Deputy Alex White: Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White It refers to business assets. Does that include all such assets? It refers to pension pots. Does that include all pension pots? Up to 20% of the family home is also left out. What remains? What would Sinn Féin tax to get a revenue of €800 million from this so-called wealth tax? Who is it fooling?

By the way, we will be discussing the property tax on Friday. We now know that Sinn Féin is in favour of taxing 80% of the family home. That was the balance, last time I looked, between 20% and 100%. Now it would appear Sinn Féin is 80% in favour of a property tax.

It is utterly false to suggest we have not protected the weak in this difficult budget. That is precisely what we have done. It is false to say that we have not taxed wealth or that the wealthy elite have escaped, as Deputy Ó Caoláin was suggesting earlier, although that was a point lost on Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn last night. He announced to the Dáil that his party was opposed to the DIRT proposals contained in the budget measures and that it would vote against them. Check the record.


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