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Snippet Contents:

I recognise the strides we have made in rebuilding the economy and welcome and commend the many progressive steps taken in budget 2015. I simply ask the Minister to make clear the message that the Government is not unfairly taxing the self-employed. There is great confusion and thus annoyance about the universal social charge rate among the very people whom we encourage to meet the challenge of starting a business and taking risks. The self-employed are honest, hard-working people who want only fair results for their work. Yesterday's edition of The Irish Times featured a helpful response from Mr. Brendan Loughane, an official in the Department of Finance, in which he stated: This message needs to be communicated to the self-employed as they do not feel they are supported by the Government.
I propose to respond to suggestions made by Opposition Deputies that the Government introduce a wealth tax. It is easy for Deputies to shout out ill-thought out suggestions in the Chamber without considering the reality. As a Deputy for Dún Laoghaire, I can vouch that many families paid exorbitant prices for the modest three and four bedroom semi detached homes in which they live. These taxpayers cannot afford to pay a wealth tax. I remind certain Opposition loudmouths that while many of my constituents in Dún Laoghaire pay income tax, child care costs and property tax and support and will pay the water tax because they know water is not a free commodity, by God, they will not support a wealth tax on their homes.
I again commend the Minister for introducing a progressive budget which abolishes the 0.6% pension levy, retains the 9% VAT rate, does not increase excise duty on alcohol, extends BreastCheck and retains the pupil-teacher ratio. Yesterday, the European economic forecast published by the European Commission stated Ireland's growth rate would be the highest in the European Union both this year and next year. This achievement is a direct result of the difficult, wise and competent decisions made by the Minister and shouldered by the people. I am confident that the measures included in the Finance Bill will help to ensure continued growth and positive news for Ireland.