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Collins, Áine

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Finance (Local Property Tax Repeal) Bill 2013 [Private Members]: Second Stage (Resumed)

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Finance (Local Property Tax Repeal) Bill 2013 [Private Members]: Second Stage (Resumed)

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Finance (Local Property Tax Repeal) Bill 2013 [Private Members]: Second Stage (Resumed)

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Deputy Áine Collins

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Áine Collins

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Snippet Contents:

I welcome the opportunity to speak on this Bill. No one here wants to increase the tax burden for anyone. All of us would like to be in a position to improve the lives of our constituents. All politicians want to be in a position of announcing and implementing good news again for our constituents. However, some of us live in the real world and we have seen many examples of irresponsible attitudes in politics in the past. These have landed our country, our people and many of our families in an awful mess. Sometimes it is easy for us to forget that just two and a half years ago there was a real possibility that we would run out of money. There was a huge concern about how we would pay for essentials like social welfare payments and salaries for public servants such as nurses, doctors, teachers and gardaí. The money we needed to support our health and education services was under threat. We needed new taxation measures to raise revenue. Unpopular measures were needed in order to maintain basic services. This Government has had the courage to implement these measures and we have restored the financial integrity of the State by doing so.
It is internationally accepted that a property tax is one of the fairest and most effective ways of raising revenue. However, doing what is right is not always popular. It will cost the parties which implement such measures dearly in popularity terms. This Government is simply putting the country and our people first. There is no easy political gain in any of this. However, this Private Member's motion from Sinn Féin is nothing more than political expediency. Sinn Féin constantly tells us that it accepts the figure for the overall fiscal adjustment that is needed but it knocks every measure proposed by the Government to meet the adjustment targets. We must have a sustainable balance between our income and our expenditure, like any good household.
We have come a long way over the last three years. We can provide services, while at the same time sowing the seeds of recovery in our economy. That is exactly what is happening. It is wonderful to see that unemployment is finally decreasing - this is the fourth successive quarter in which the numbers are falling. I personally would like to thank the 80% of Irish householders who have paid their property tax to date.