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Snippet Contents:

I welcome the opportunity to speak about the Finance Bill 2014. We must look at what the essence of this legislation is. I think we all know that it is to give statutory effect to the provisions announced by the Minister for Finance on budget day. That brings us back to the basic question of whether this is a good or a bad Finance Bill. That can only be judged on the basis of whether the budget announced a couple of weeks ago by the Ministers for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform was a good or a bad budget, or a fair budget. It certainly failed the test of fairness. In a nutshell, it was a budget for the high earners, and those on lower incomes suffered. There are some people in Ireland who believe that is good. I do not think so.
Are the follow-through pieces of legislation - the Finance Bill and the Social Welfare Bill, which are based on an unfair budget that lacks a social conscience - good or bad Bills? Overall, the Finance Bill is bad legislation, and this House should reject it - and the Social Welfare Bill, when it arrives - because it is the legal implementation of an unfair budget. Many of the fine details in the Finance Bill, which I think is 120 pages long, are very good in their own right. There is a list of them, section by section, covering all the various areas of taxation in Ireland. Many of the individual proposals will not be debated because they are not too controversial and people will be happy enough that some specific measures are going through.