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

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 786 No. 3

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  11 o’clock

Deputy John Halligan: Information on John Halligan Zoom on John Halligan Some of us were not allowed to vote on it.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore The Revenue Commissioners were chosen to collect the property tax because that is the agency in the State which collects taxes. If we were to do something different-----

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Will they be collecting the septic tank tax?

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore -----Deputy Ross would write a column for his newspaper or he would get up on stage with his colleagues to discuss the waste of State resources in having multiple agencies doing what one agency could do. Has not the Deputy argued-----

Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly Who collects commercial rates?

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Look what happened when the Government put SUSI in charge of student grants.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore -----that one agency should deal with matters of this nature?

Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly Who collects commercial rates?

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore The Revenue Commissioners is the body which is tasked with collecting revenue in this country and it has been asked to lead the collection of the property tax. The House will debate the property tax legislation when it is introduced by the Minister for Finance, Deputy Noonan. I am sure Deputy Ross can make all of these points to the Minister.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett A guillotine is also being applied in respect of that legislation.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte The four angry booksellers.

Deputy Shane Ross: Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross I asked the Tánaiste two questions, neither of which he answered.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe The Deputy is only allowed to ask one.

Deputy Shane Ross: Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross Why is legislation going to be introduced in 2013 to give the banks a free run at homeowners? Why can the Government not take the view that this legislation is unnecessary-----

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte If the Deputy keeps going this way Deputy Higgins will give him an application form to join his party.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Well done, Deputy Rabbitte.

Deputy Shane Ross: Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross -----and that it would more sympathetic to homeowners if it were not introduced?

Does the Tánaiste have sympathy with the view that the Revenue Commissioners have been chosen to collect the property tax because this is the only way the money involved can be extracted from people as a result of the fact that they simply cannot afford to pay? Imagine the scene that will obtain when many people on social welfare payments or modest incomes have money deducted from those payments or their salaries. They will be obliged to make sacrifices in respect of necessities such as putting bread on the table, paying fees and heating their homes. I ask the Tánaiste to reconsider what is being done here. There are other ways of collecting this tax. Did the Government collect the household charge through the Revenue Commissioners? The reason it is not collecting the property tax in the same way it collected the household charge is that people cannot pay. The Government's attitude is that it is going to bring in the heavy gang-----

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan It is organising the-----

(Interruptions).

Deputy Shane Ross: Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross -----to collect this money willy-nilly because the latter will ignore the needs of the people from whom it is going to be taken.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte Deputy Ross will be out on the streets with Deputy Higgins next.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore More than most Members, Deputy Ross knows very well that the tax base must be broadened.

Deputy Shane Ross: Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross This is not broadening the tax base.

Deputy Phil Hogan: Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan Then what is it doing?

Deputy Shane Ross: Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross It is taking money from exactly the same people-----

Deputy Frances Fitzgerald: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald Deputy Ross should not be ridiculous.

(Interruptions).

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore Deputy Ross's theatrics have a place and people can pay €25 for the privilege of seeing those theatrics in that place.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath The Tánaiste would do well-----

(Interruptions).

Deputy John Perry: Information on John Perry Zoom on John Perry It is a pantomime over there.

(Interruptions).

A Deputy: Would people pay to watch what is happening here?

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore We did not have to pay at the box office this morning in order to listen to Deputy Ross.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath The Tánaiste will have to pay next time.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore Deputy Ross knows well that the tax base must be broadened.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Is including social welfare recipients the way to broaden it? That is a new concept.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath That is Labour's way.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore He is also well aware that householders are being given various options with regard to method of payment. As he is further aware, over 70% of householders have paid the household charge. I thank them for doing so. When this Parliament decides that a tax should be levied, there is an obligation on everyone to be compliant and pay it. The Revenue Commissioners have developed expertise in the collection of taxes.

Deputy John Halligan: Information on John Halligan Zoom on John Halligan They take a long time to get money from tax defaulters.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore If we were to give responsibility for collecting the property tax to some other agency, Deputy Ross would be the first to make the argument about duplication of resources and the additional cost relating to tax collection.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte Deputy Ross was speaking on behalf of the Socialist Party.

Order of Business

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore It is proposed to take No. 16, Supplementary Estimate for Public Services, Votes 25 and 39 (back from committee); No. 5, Social Welfare Bill 2012 - Committee and Remaining Stages (resumed); No. a1, Credit Union Bill 2012 - Amendments from the Seanad; and No. 6, Equal Status (Amendment) Bill 2012 - Order for Second Stage and Second and Subsequent Stages.

  It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 5.45 p.m. and shall adjourn on the conclusion of Oral Questions; No. 16 shall be decided without debate, Votes 25 and 39 shall be moved together and shall be decided by one question which shall be put from the Chair, and any division demanded thereon shall be taken forthwith; Committee and Remaining Stages of No. 5 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 2 p.m. by one question which shall be put from the Chair, and which shall, in relation to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Social Protection, and the sitting thereupon shall be suspended until 3 p.m.; the proceedings on No. a1 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 6.30 p.m. and any amendments from the Seanad not disposed of shall be decided by one question which shall be put from the Chair, and which shall, in relation to amendments to the Seanad amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Finance; Second and Subsequent Stages of No. 6 shall be taken today and the following arrangements shall apply: the proceedings on the Second Stage shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 60 minutes, the opening speeches of a Minister or Minister of State and of the main spokespersons for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Technical Group, who shall be called upon in that order and who may share their time, shall not exceed 10 minutes in each case, the speech of each other Member called upon shall not exceed ten minutes, and such Members may share their time, and a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a speech in reply which shall not exceed five minutes; the proceedings on Committee and Remaining Stages shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 30 minutes by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Justice and Equality and the order shall resume thereafter with Topical Issues and Oral Questions; and the Dáil shall sit tomorrow at 10.30 a.m. and shall adjourn not later than 6 p.m., and at 10.30 a.m. on that day there shall be an Order of Business within the meaning of Standing Order 26, subject to the proceedings comprehended by paragraph 2 and 3 of that Standing Order, not exceeding 20 minutes.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt There are six proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal that the Dáil shall sit later than 5.45 p.m. and shall adjourn on the conclusion of Oral Questions agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 16, Supplementary Estimate for Public Services, Votes 25 and 39 (back from committee), without debate agreed to?

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald It is not agreed. I understand this proposal relates to the Supplementary Estimate for health. We were informed last week that the Government proposes to make, in a full year, over €1 billion in further cuts to the health service. None of what is involved in this regard has been set out in any detail. There is speculation in today's newspapers about cancellation of routine surgeries. We can only read about these matters in the media. It is most unacceptable that a Supplementary Estimate relating to health should be put through on the nod without scrutiny or debate, particularly in circumstances in which the Minister for Health, Deputy Reilly, and the Government have failed spectacularly to set out exactly how they intend to make the savings that are required.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin I agree 100% with Deputy McDonald. We made the point last week that €1 billion worth of Supplementary Estimates have been put through the House with no discussion during plenary session. It is evident that last year's health Estimate was both fraudulent and flawed.

Deputy Derek Nolan: Information on Derek Nolan Zoom on Derek Nolan At least it was not corrupt.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald It was entirely corrupt.

Deputy Arthur Spring: Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring It was not fraudulent.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Yes, it was fraudulent.

Deputy Arthur Spring: Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring It is great to hear the brown envelope boys informing us about corruption.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Deputy Spring had better suck it up, because that is what happened.

(Interruptions).

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin The point is that last year's health Estimate contained figures which no one had any intention of ever realising. Those figures related to drug pricing, the income from private health insurance - which has disappeared from this year's budget - and agency nursing, in respect of which a 50% cut was proposed. They were included in last year's health Estimate but nothing was done until August when cuts were made in respect of personal assistant services for people in independent living and savage cuts were introduced in the context of home help hours.


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