Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Order of Business (Continued)
 Header Item Finance Bill 2014: Second Stage (Resumed)

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 857 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 77 Next Page Last Page

(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Michael P. Kitt: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt] I would like that information made available either through a debate or replies to those people.

The Tánaiste: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I understand the Official Languages (Amendment) Bill is on the "A" list to come before the House during this session. In respect of facilitating a debate on mother-and-baby homes in Tuam and other areas of the country, when the work is completed, a discussion among the Whips will almost certainly facilitate a debate in the House.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan I am enquiring about two pieces of legislation, one of which is the International Agreements on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Taxation Bill. In light of the appalling revelations this morning in The Irish Times and The Guardian about the massive tax evasion facilitated by the state of Luxembourg over the past 18 years, with the Irish company Glanbia mentioned in those dispatches, will the Irish Government take action on this? Is there a mechanism whereby the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, could be recalled?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett We cannot discuss this on the Order of Business.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan At the same time, could we recall Commissioner Phil Hogan who got the country into this water mess?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett What is the Bill?

The Tánaiste: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I understand the Bill referred to by the Deputy will come before the House in this session.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan What about the substantive question?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Not on the Order of Business. The Deputy is around long enough to know that.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins Will the Tánaiste give me the time, date and duration of the debate on water charges? People deserve to know the level of charges the Government will force them to boycott en masse in January.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett We are not going back into that.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins In respect of the International Agreements on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Taxation Bill, on the morning when The Irish Times exposes the most incredible tax dodging by Irish corporations purporting to work in Luxembourg, where they have as much work as they would have on the Blasket Islands, when will the Government stop this incredible scamming on tax by major corporations when working-class people are pulverised for yet more taxes?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett To what Bill is the Deputy referring?

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins I am speaking about the International Agreements on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Taxation Bill. Yesterday, women in their sixties were manhandled by the gardaí.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Will the Deputy resume his seat? He knows as well as I do that he is not allowed display items like that in the Chamber. He is here a long time. I ask the Deputy to resume his seat.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins The Tánaiste is responsible for this disgraceful situation. What will she do to stop gardaí brutalising local communities for opposing water charges?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett If the Deputy abuses the Order of Business, I will not call him. I ask him to resume his seat. He knows he is out of order.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins I am saying that right around this country, there is an insurrection against the Government's new austerity tax. People are being manhandled and brutalised by her gardaí and I am calling her to account to stop it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Will the Deputy resume his seat?

Deputy Anthony Lawlor: Information on Anthony Lawlor Zoom on Anthony Lawlor What about the Deputy's people abusing the gardaí?

The Tánaiste: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton Gardaí have an oath of loyalty to the State and not to any particular politician - Deputy Joe Higgins, me or anyone else.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins No, the Government is abusing them.

The Tánaiste: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton It is a professional force, as it ought to be. In respect of Deputy Joe Higgins's query about taxation, the legislation to which he referred will come before the House this session. In my view - the Deputy has been a member of the European Parliament - these matters can be addressed only by close co-operation across Europe and on a global basis if we wish to address them properly.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Ten days ago in a blaze of glory we saw a new Court of Appeal set up and rolled out on foot of a referendum that was held over a year ago. The referendum was rushed but the people decided. A constituent of mine went to lodge an appeal in the Supreme Court last Friday-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett We cannot discuss that on the Order of Business.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath He was sent to the new Court of Appeal to find empty offices-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Table a parliamentary question.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath When will the Judicial Council Bill come before the House and when will we see some sense made of what is going on down in the courts?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Is it this session?

The Tánaiste: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The Judicial Council Bill should come before the House this session.

Deputy Frank Feighan: Information on Frank Feighan Zoom on Frank Feighan When will the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (Amendment) Bill come before the House?

The Tánaiste: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I understand that Bill will come before the House next year.

Finance Bill 2014: Second Stage (Resumed)

  Question again proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

Deputy Tom Barry: Information on Tom Barry Zoom on Tom Barry I welcome the opportunity to speak on the Finance Bill 2014.

This is a very important budget and I would like to discuss the measures it introduced relating to agriculture. It is an extraordinary budget for the agriculture industry that is based on taxation review. While the review may have passed by some people, it was long-awaited and it is very in-depth and captured the essence of what we need to do in agriculture. This should be compared with the view of previous Governments which described agriculture as a sunset industry. We all know to where that led. I heard one Deputy saying earlier that it was unfair to give agriculture such prominence and that Fine Gael was an agricultural party. I have news for him. Somebody has to protect agriculture and there are people across this House who will protect it because it is vital to protect this indigenous industry. I suggest that before shouting for Dáil reform, these commentators should inform themselves before they criticise.

There are a few elements of this Finance Bill that need to be tweaked, the first of which is the definition of an active farmer. We need to be flexible in this regard because the definition of an active farmer can be broad. Essentially, it must reflect practicalities. If a person is making all the decisions on a farm and all the moneys are moving from his or her account to pay suppliers, such persons need to be defined as active farmers even if they are unable to do all the tasks themselves or may need to employ contractors. One cannot just say that a person must spend 50% of his or her time farming because some people are very good organisers. I am an active farmer and I would be very disappointed if somebody suggested that I was not. It reminds me of the clause that used to be in the old retirement scheme which stated that once an elderly farmer retired, he or she could no longer farm, which was nonsense. It is just a matter of tweaking the definition.

The other issue I wish to raise relates to income averaging. I am delighted that the Minister increased the period from three to five years for income averaging. This makes sense at a time of market fluctuations. The price of grain has collapsed this year while the price of beef is down but we know these prices will change again. We need flexibility in our taxation regime and this is exactly what this change does.

The Minister introduced a revolutionary measure in the budget. He has allowed the allowance for off-farm income to be included in income averaging. This is important because it shows that our policy with regards to agriculture is to encourage diversification. I cannot over emphasise the importance of this; it is exactly what we need to do. Businesses will crop up because of the shared resources of people in agriculture. In the legal framework proposal for CAP before it started, there was a suggestion of a grant for people who would diversify on farms. We may not attract large businesses into rural areas but we will increase the number of small businesses and encourage them to employ more people.


Last Updated: 22/09/2016 12:18:08 First Page Previous Page Page of 77 Next Page Last Page