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Order of Business

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Senator David Cullinane

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

The failure of the Constitutional Convention to discuss the Seanad is not the fault of convention members. We should not call into question the value of the Constitutional Convention on the basis of the remit set down for it by the Oireachtas. We must make clear that the fault lies with the Government. As a previous speaker noted, the Government was afraid to allow the convention discuss Seanad reform. It is not, therefore, the fault of the convention members that they has been precluded from addressing the issue. The convention has done much good work.
I call again for a debate on taxation in the run-up to the budget. As the Leader will be aware, Sinn Féin has tabled a Bill in the Lower House to repeal the property tax. The Seanad needs to have a proper and full discussion on all aspects of taxation as the budget approaches in October. The Leader may be aware that the revaluation of commercial rates in our home area has caused serious problems for small retailers whose rates will double or treble if changes are not made to the current proposals. Industry and the hospitality sector, including hotels, have been given a welcome break through substantial cuts in their rates, whereas small retailers who must cope with a decline in footfall are expecting an increase in rates. Any such increase would create further difficulty for retailers, many of whom would be placed in an unsustainable position of their rates were to double or treble. The House should debate all aspects of taxation as the budget approaches. We should examine alternative and fairer ways of levying commercial rates and discuss corporation and income tax and the various forms of indirect tax. In recent years, there has been a shift from progressive taxation to indirect taxes. We should return to a system of income taxes based on the ability to pay. I hope the Leader will arrange such a debate as we approach the budget.