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Financial Resolutions 2020

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Budget Statement 2021

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Deputy Michael Healy-Rae

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Snippet Contents:

At the outset, I would like to address this budget for what it is, and that is the Green Party's budget and definitely the biggest case of the tail wagging the dog we have seen since the foundation of the State. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have obviously sold their souls completely for power because not only are we seeing this budget brought before us, but it is terribly important for people to realise that the Minister for Finance, in his press briefing after this budget speech, outlined that the Finance Bill will legislate for a carbon tax hike of €7.50 per annum until 2029 and €6.50 in 2030. This will, in effect, mean he and this Government are marrying future politicians and future Governments to this tax, whether they like it or not. The people of Ireland have to understand that it is going to equate to €9.5 billion of extra taxes being burdened upon them over the next ten years.
I am not a climate change denier. I am interested in protecting the environment and the climate. I want to ensure the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the future will have a world to live in, and I want to protect every species in that world, including the human species. That is very important because we have to remember the humans who have to live here today, tomorrow and every other day.
What has been done in this budget is an attack on rural Ireland. As has been aready stated, it is a direct attack. What are we telling people here today, for example? I am sure the Ceann Comhairle will be interested in this. While it is very seldom I do it, this evening I kept an account of the telephone calls I got which were specifically related to the budget and which were negative, and 72 was the number of such calls. Every one of them was from the greatest county in the western world, County Kerry. I received 72 calls telling me what was wrong with the budget. I am only one politician from Kerry and I am a representative of only an average number, and they are not all going to ring me, surely to God. Nonetheless, 72 people rang me to give out about it. They were not wrong and the people who are behind them at home were not wrong.
I will tell the Minister what they saw was wrong with it. There are people in Kerry today who are proud of the motor car they own, and whether it is five or ten years old, or whether the jeep they own is ten, 15 or 20 years old, it is theirs. They are being told they will be penalised from a tax point of view from tonight due to the excise that will be put on petrol. They are being hit all the time. Why so? What are they guilty of? They are guilty in that they might not have the wherewithal, or they might have other priorities, or their own car or jeep might be doing fine, but the Minister, Deputy Eamon Ryan, thinks they should be driving an electric vehicle. Actually, he does not even think that. I will quote him and remind him again and, until I die, I will keep reminding him of what he said one day. I hate talking about anybody in their absence but I have said it to his face and I will keep saying it to him. He suggested that in villages in rural areas, the people should have no cars and what they should actually do is to have carpooling. He put a figure on it and said that if there were five or ten cars parked in the local village, everybody could come down and use those cars. Would there not be some tearing for the cars in the morning when people are trying to go to work? For God’s sake, that will tell us the mentality.
Then, we have the geniuses in Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael who decided to listen to what this man said. If he told them that night was day and vice versa, they would believe him at this stage because they are swallowing everything. Why? It is because of power; it is because of ministerial jobs and being in positions of power. They sold their souls and despite the mandate they had themselves, whereby they were asked to come up here and represent people, they have let down an awful lot of people.
There are some things I welcome. I am from the tourism capital of the world and there we have Killarney, which is the jewel in the crown of tourism in the world.