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Financial Resolutions 2017

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Financial Resolution No. 2: General (Resumed)

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Financial Resolution No. 2: General (Resumed)

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Deputy Mattie McGrath

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Snippet Contents:

The Deputy is making it worse than what it was. It does not seem like six years when you win it. You think you only missed it for a year or two. It is all about nurturing and kindling the passion, the vision and the enthusiasm. Shopkeepers and the self-employed are asked day in and out for spot prizes for all these fund-raisers. They are the people who need to be supported but it is a kick in the teeth to cut back this funding.
I acknowledge there is money for Horse Racing Ireland and I agree there are issues with that body and with the greyhound board. However, I refer to the comments of Deputies Wallace and Clare Daly - tá said imithe - because they are forever jealous, as was Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan last night, of giving money to sheep farmers. Deputy O'Sullivan thought the money should have gone to hares. Hare coursing is humane, organised and regulated now and it is an industry. These Deputies keep talking about wanting jobs and industry, yet they want to hammer hare coursing, an industry that is vital to south and north Tipperary, home to my colleague, Deputy Cahill, and other parts of the country. It is an industry of the people, for the people and by the people. They pay their own money for veterinary fees. They buy their pups and have them impregnated. They use all the different services such as inoculation. The owners are registered and they have to have a van and a box to carry the dogs. They have to have kennels and proper accommodation. That all creates business and plenty of people cannot see that. They want to get rid of that but they want jobs for this, that and the other. Some of the people on the hard left want to banish all these things and they say then everything will be grand and rosy and we will have a Utopia that will fund everything. The people in this industry created it themselves. They enjoy it and give enjoyment to thousands. I condemn wholeheartedly cruelty to greyhounds and the horrible exports. That must be rooted out but it is for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Bord na gCon and other agencies to ensure that happens. Animal cruelty has no place in any industry or sport.
Roads funding also brings us back to the rural people or the little people. They are badly neglected. We have the NCT and more regulations are being introduced all the time by the TII, which used to be the NRA. I always said we got rid of the IRA in the peace process and then we got the NRA. It is untouchable. Nobody can talk to them or engage with them. They do what they like, when they like, where they like. You cannot even meet them as part of a deputation and they say they are not responsible to anyone else. They are not even responsible to the Minister when a parliamentary question is asked. Roads funding has been hammered. If we do not invest in our rural roads, it will cost ten times as much in years to come because the infrastructure is being eroded. If we get a bad, wet winter followed by frost, untold damage will be done. There has been a meagre increase in funding. I wish the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport well in fighting for funding at the Cabinet but it is not easy. We got the local improvements scheme included in the programme for Government and it will be introduced next year, which I welcome, because, as Deputy Healy-Rae said earlier, the half miles and the roads on Slievenamon, the Galtee Mountains or the Knockmealdown Mountains are as important as the M50. People living on them work and pay taxes and rates and they are entitled to have their local roads maintained as well as roads are elsewhere. All the money cannot be spent around Dublin.
We have no room to move in the city. We cannot get a bed in a hotel. Another Deputy who appeared on a programme with me last night said the tourism VAT rate should be increased from 9% to 30%. That is fine in Dublin if there is a boom but I know of hotels in Tipperary where last night a double decker load of people could have had beds. It is a two-tier Ireland and we need equality.
That 9% VAT rate was welcome when it came in. It stimulated the hospitality industry but the industry now faces Brexit. Nobody is talking about how hard it could be. Last week, I travelled from Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina and I encountered a hard border. We travelled on a new motorway built with EU money and we arrived at a hard border. We were there 50 minutes and every passport was taken off the bus and scrutinised. Do we want to go back to tailbacks from Newry and Crossmaglen on both sides of the Border? We have to be careful about what we wish for. That is the real impact of a hard border.
There is neglect everywhere outside Dublin and not just the west. You will find it even in Naas and Drogheda.