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 Header Item Cabinet Committee Meetings (Continued)
 Header Item Order of Business

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 787 No. 3

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(Speaker Continuing)

[The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny] Ministers agreed on Votes and figures for their respective Departments and then that was discussed collectively, signed off collectively and approved collectively by the Cabinet as is its responsibility. The Minister for whatever Department would not be aware of the detailed discussions about another Minister's Department until such time as the Cabinet would come together collectively on that.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett On the Cabinet committee on mortgage arrears, did this committee meet with the troika and discuss its demand that legislative impediments to banks repossessing family homes should be a priority for the Government? It is difficult to tally the Taoiseach's soothing words about the low level of repossessions in the country and his assurances that the personal insolvency agency will protect home owners from the loss of their family homes with the simultaneous demand by the troika that legal impediments to the right of banks to repossess family homes should be a priority. Did this committee discuss that with them and could they explain their rationale in making this demand? Is it not the case, consequently, given this demand, that those with mortgages, particularly distressed mortgages, should be fearful because our troika masters are demanding that banks should be able to repossess more homes?

On the Economic Management Council it is clear from the protections, in terms of low corporate tax rate and a refusal to impose the financial transaction tax, that the submissions of the banks and groups such as the clearing house group were listened to by the Economic Management Council. Is it equally obvious that the Economic Management Council did not listen to the plethora of civil society groups and groups dealing with poverty, such as the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Social Justice Ireland and the trade unions, which were representing the least well off and struggling sections in society and which made submission after submission asking that the burden of austerity in the budget should not fall on those who are already struggling to survive? Is it the case that the Economic Management Council, the inner cabal of the Government, listened only to one section of society - the troika, the banks, the very wealthy - and simply refused to listen to and ignored the civil society and other group organisations that represented ordinary citizens - low and middle income earners, the unemployed and the vulnerable in society? Is there something radically wrong with the way this inner cabal of the Government is deporting itself, in listening only to one minority section of society and not listening at all to the voices of the majority?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny There are no marks for that. The Economic Management Council did not meet the troika. The Minister for Finance and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform regularly met the troika in regard to the memorandum of understanding and the fulfilling of the conditions of the bailout programme, but the troika did not meet the Economic Management Council.

The question of the troika putting forward its view that legal clarification was required in regard to the consequences of the Dunne judgment dealing with mortgages is something that had to be dealt with and that legal clarification will be provided following the setting up of the insolvency service. That is not to be taken as any indication of a rash of house repossessions. I already made the case on that to Deputies Ó Fearghaíl and Adams.

I answered Deputy Boyd Barrett previously on the financial transaction tax. We have objected to the financial transaction tax. We have not participated in the enhanced co-operation at European level for that tax. Ireland imposes stamp duty on transactions. Clearly, we did not want to place the International Financial Services Centre at a disadvantage to London if none applied there. The Commission, in its own documents, reported on the financial transaction, but I do not speak for other countries in this regard. Now that 11 of them have signed on for enhanced co-operation with regard to introducing a financial transaction tax, Ireland, as the incoming Presidency of the Union, will not impede that although, of course, we will need to know the conditions that apply to it.

The low corporate tax rate has been an important element of investment in this country over many years. The rate is 12.5%, 11.9% effective, across the board. As Deputy Boyd Barrett will be aware, in some of the other countries in Europe-----

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett Rubbish. It is not 11.9%.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny -----different rates of corporate tax apply for different sectors and, indeed, in different regions, but in Ireland it is straightforward and transparent. It is an important element of the attractiveness of the country for investment.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett I do not know from where the Taoiseach got 11.9%. That is a fantasy.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny We will not be changing that.

  Written Answers follow Adjournment.

Order of Business

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny It is proposed to take No. 11, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund Regulations 2012 (back from committee); No. 12, Finance (Local Property Tax) Bill 2012 – Financial Resolution; and No. 26, Finance (Local Property Tax) Bill 2012 - Order for Committee, Committee and Remaining Stages. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that: the Dáil shall sit later than 9 p.m. tonight and shall adjourn not later than 11 p.m.; Nos. 11 and 12 shall be decided without debate; in the event a division is in progress at the time fixed for taking Private Members' business, which shall be No. 93, motion re carers, Standing Order 121(3) shall not apply and Private Members' business shall, if not previously concluded, adjourn after 90 minutes; the Committee and Remaining Stages of No. 26 shall be taken today and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 11 p.m. tonight 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 Finance.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett There are four proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal that the Dáil shall sit later than 9 p.m. tonight and adjourn not later than 11 p.m. agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal that Nos. 11 and 12, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund Regulations 2012 (back from committee) and Finance (Local Property Tax) Bill 2012 – Financial Resolutions, respectively, shall be decided without debate agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with Private Members' business agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 26, Finance (Local Property Tax) Bill 2012 - Order for Committee, Committee and Remaining Stages, agreed to?

Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl It is not agreed.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny That has to be agreed. It is Christmas.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe They stated there was no problem in passing it.

Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I suppose we have had some of this discourse earlier this afternoon. On behalf of my party, I must object strenuously to the ramming through of this vital legislation. From time to time, the guillotine will be applied and we will accept, although we may protest, that there is an urgency to the moving of the legislation, but this legislation in its current form will place enormous burdens on middle Ireland - those who are already carrying a weight that is in many ways excessive.

There is no need for this legislation to be forced through in this way. For example, we could have come in here to debate it yesterday when the business of the House was concluded in advance of time but that opportunity was not given to us. We can come back here after the Christmas break to debate this and go through the 88 amendments.


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