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O'Brien, Jonathan

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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 Jonathan O'Brien

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Snippet Contents:

I would not blame the Deputy for using the term because sometimes this place is a bit of a circus and perhaps they are clowns in here. There are puppet masters and puppets and we all know who the puppet masters and the puppets are.
I was very interested in Deputy Coffey's contribution. He described this tax as a progressive measure. I do not know what planet he is living on but he is not living on planet earth if he thinks this tax is progressive. The State recognises that people who have lost their jobs do not have the financial means to support themselves and it steps in with financial intervention through social protection and assists those people. The State, with one hand, gives assistance over the counter to the most vulnerable people in society because it recognises they are unable to provide for themselves but it dips the other hand into their pockets to take back that assistance through a property tax. There is nothing progressive about that. That is regressive, disgraceful and despicable.
Deputy Coffey also said that this legislation was populist and Deputy Mitchell O'Connor criticised our tabling this legislation as being a waste of time. This is the place one tables legislation. She said that six months ago legislation was brought in to impose a property tax on the family home and that this Bill was a waste of time. I do not consider any legislation that is brought in and debated in this House as being a waste of time. That is what this institution is supposed to be for.
Deputy Coffey also said that it was easy for us in opposition to produce legislation like this. It was easy for us to be populist, to say what was popular because we would not have to back it up. He, as a backbench Government Deputy and his colleagues in Cabinet have to take the hard decisions, but that is the wrong debate. It is not about easy decisions and hard decisions, it is about right decisions and wrong decisions. The right decision in terms of regaining our economic sovereignty is to ask those who can pay more to do that. The wrong decision is to ask those who have nothing else to give to give more.
Deputy Áine Collins in her contribution said that two and half years ago when this Government came to power this State was on the verge of running out of money and thankfully, according to her, through the initiatives, policies and the legislation that this Government has brought in the State is now in a better financial position. What she failed to say is that every single week and month families across this State are indeed running out money. It is not something that may happen or will happen, it does happen.
A report published today on the education sector showed that 20% of our children go to school hungry. That is the reality. There is nothing progressive about this taxation. There is nothing easy about tabling legislation to repeal it. This measure is regressive and the legislation to repeal it is the right thing to do. Perhaps Deputy Coffey needs to look in a mirror and ask himself who he is representing. Is it the people who elected him-----