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Fleming, Sean

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.

Budget Statement 2013 (Continued)

I look forward to making a contribution on detailed aspects of the budget. I want to highlight issues that will affect the majority of ordinary families and people. This budget effectively tighte...More Button

Over the past two years and during the previous election, commitments were given to the people which today are being broken. Put simply, this is a U-turn budget from a U-turn Government. In eve...More Button

Labour has spoken out against the bank guarantee on many occasions in the past. Despite this, last week, every Labour Deputy voted to renew that for a further 12 months. The Government claims i...More Button

I will address specific measures in the budget and will inevitably concentrate on issues that affect families, children and parents. The cut in child benefit can only be described as an anti-fam...More Button

There was no mention of it in the statement today. Throughout the country ordinary families are struggling to make ends meet and meet their basic child care costs. This crude attack will cause si...More Button

I wish to explain the changes made to child benefit because they will have escaped many people. The Minister had already announced cuts to child benefit to be introduced on 1 January, which were...More Button

It is not only in this area the Minister will make cuts. He will also make it more difficult for people to obtain mortgage interest supplement. This scheme had worked well over a number of year...More Button

Another issue which needs to be mentioned is the one parent family payment. The age limit for this payment has been 14 years, but legislation was passed earlier this year which means from 1 Janu...More Button

The measures announced by the Minister will hit families where it hurts most by removing another €50 from the pocket of those who qualify for the back to school allowance. One must be on a very ...More Button

With regard to older people, the household benefits package is valued throughout the country. Our senior citizens and people with disabilities depend on it. We know it is a significant cost to ...More Button

Was the budget poverty-proofed? The answer is that it could not have been because the Ministers only saw it a few days ago. Was it gender-proofed? It could not have been because only four Mini...More Button

The measures announced by the Minister will hit women who have children. They will also hit new applicants for the one parent family payment as the age limit will be reduced to ten years of age ...More Button

The Minister has done a very nasty thing by cutting the carer's respite grant. This is a grant for carers who look after elderly or disabled people, including disabled children in receipt of dom...More Button

I cannot believe the Minister has done this to the women and the mothers of Ireland - taxing maternity benefit, cutting child benefit, cutting the eligibility for one-parent family payment, cutting...More Button

In respect of the Department of Social Protection benefits, the Minister has cut the period in which people can avail of jobseeker's benefit, from 12 to nine months for people who were working for ...More Button

The Minister has also made it more difficult for employers to employ people. He has cut the employers' redundancy rebate at a saving of €30 million. We all would agree that the future success o...More Button

The Minister has also cut the back to education allowance. He has discontinued the €300 payment per annum at a saving of €24 million. He has also cut the respite care grant.More Button

This brings me on to a bigger issue directly affecting the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Howlin. He should bear this point in mind because I have not made it previously. Th...More Button

In preparing for the Supplementary Estimates debate last week, the Library and Research Service gave me details of all the Supplementary Estimates. I asked how much there was in Supplementary Esti...More Button

They amount to €1.118 billion. I will spell it out to the Minister in further detail. When the Taoiseach set up the new Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, I thought it was a good idea a...More Button

What use did that Department serve? I will explain it to the people. Since the Minister stood in this House exactly one year ago, all of the Departments that are under his direct control as Minis...More Button

-----overspent by €3 million every day, €20 million a week or €100 million every month for the past 12 months, and there have been Supplementary Estimates recently in the order of €1.2 billion. Th...More Button

-----but those are the irrefutable facts.More Button

We told the Minister this time last year that the health Estimate was flawed. The figures were wrong; they did not stand up. Everybody knew they were flawed. The Minister, Deputy Howlin, needs s...More Button

Deputy Howlin comes into the House at the end of the year and thinks he can slip through €1 billion in Supplementary Estimates that arise from flawed budgeting. There was no overspending in the De...More Button

In the Department of Education and Skills, there is another broken promise from the Labour Party in the form of an extra €250 in student fees, all to raise €55 million. It is a small figure in t...More Button

As we are all aware, this time next year the troika will have gone home. There is only one thing standing between Ireland and the troika going home, and that is how the Minister manages the Gove...More Button

If we continue to have overspending of the Estimates produced today-----More Button

-----in the order of €3 million a day, €20 million a week, €100 million a month or more than €1 billion per annum, woe betide the Minister if he does not do his job and the troika must stay.More Button

The troika are scheduled to go. They are on the road out of here.More Button

They were here for a short period and the Minister, Deputy Howlin, should not mess it up.More Button

The Minister should not mess it up.More Button

Last Thursday was an interesting day in this Chamber. The public is focused on us today and they all tune in once a year to see what is going on in the House, but I would take them back to Thursda...More Button

Also last Thursday, the Minister, Deputy Howlin, presented a Supplementary Estimate for his Department to provide for pensions for retired civil servants, 84 of which were in excess of €100,000. ...More Button

Deputy Howlin is the one who has done the talk. He promised the change.More Button

These are civil servants' pensions.More Button

I want to be clear. These pensions were for the retired Sir Humphreys. The modern-day Sir Humphreys captured the Minister to look after the retired Sir Humphreys because they will be in that cate...More Button

The pensions were for civil servants only. If that had happened in a local authority where it had trouble in the last month of the year meeting the payments for its retired workers, it would have ...More Button

Civil servants, however, were able to walk into the Minister, Deputy Howlin's office and say: "Minister, we need money for the retired civil servants". There was no mention of retired council work...More Button

The issue of public sector pay and reform was not sufficiently dealt with here today. We have had some reform and the Minister has spoken a lot about abolishing quangos. In 2011, he said that 4...More Button

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform makes great play about efficiencies, shared services and public sector reform. I support the principle of shared services whether it operates acros...More Button

As the Minister knows, this came into being this summer.More Button

Yes. The Minister, Deputy Quinn, apologised for the delays but I think he was also apologising for the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform because this is a reform issue. Some 66,000 peopl...More Button

I wish to comment on the Department of Children and Youth Affairs because we have had the children's referendum. Apart from cutting child benefit, the Government is also cutting funding to vario...More Button

The Minister could have assisted job growth in the economy by ensuring that money earmarked and passed by this House for capital expenditure on publicly funded projects was used for that purpose ...More Button

I appeal to the Minister concerning the €3 billion worth of publicly funded contracts that are due to happen next year. We on this side of the House will do everything to assist him, but will he...More Button

The budget contains a number of taxation measures, including the property tax which my colleague Deputy Michael McGrath has outlined in detail, that are not necessary at this time. They should n...More Button

Financial Resolution No. 5: Excise (Continued)

I will make a brief point on the first vote in the House. To clarify, the Fianna Fáil Party opposed the changes to the alcohol products tax, but we were supportive of the changes to the tobacco pr...More Button

We are used to the practice whereby, similar to Committee Stage,-----More Button

-----there is a group discussion, yet it is unusual to have group voting. We might agree with some measures during the course of the night, yet be forced to oppose them because we are opposed to o...More Button

I will be brief to allow other Deputies an opportunity. My colleague, Deputy Ó Cuív, will wish to discuss Financial Resolution No. 4. We will oppose the reduction in the farmers' flat rate addi...More Button

The Taoiseach's final comment was on the change in respect of off-the-road vehicles, which is not specifically mentioned in the motion. Legislation will be introduced next year. We accept that ...More Button

It was not announced in the budget. A new tax accruing €31 million will be introduced whenever the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Hogan, returns from wherever...More Button

We will have supplementary budgets to raise revenue during the course of the year, yet I believed that the purpose of tonight was to budget for the full year. When the Taoiseach next gets a chance...More Button

We are generally supportive of the changes to the categories of VRT and motor tax. Fianna Fáil could oppose everything, but we agreed to the €3.5 billion. We must be responsible, put our money wh...More Button

However, we will oppose the resolution in respect of VRT. It is unfortunate that due to the grouping, all three matters are being taken together, including that relating to farmers. We will vote ...More Button

Financial Resolution No. 6: Income Tax

This is the one resolution I expect every Member of the House to support. I cannot see why anybody would oppose it. It deals with people getting what we would all call massive redundancy payments...More Button

It is only right that this little provision should be changed and those people who get non-statutory lump sums above that amount should pay tax at the top rate. I believe everybody would agree w...More Button

I will make one small political point to the Tánaiste. This sounds like something the Labour Party might have been keen to have included as it is seen as getting somebody at the top. However, t...More Button

Financial Resolution No. 9: Income Tax

Three Financial Resolutions are being discussed together. Fianna Fáil supports two of them but opposes one, which means we must vote against all three because the resolutions will be grouped in th...More Button

Fianna Fáil opposes Financial Resolution No. 7 on changing the universal social charge for people over the age of 70 years on the basis that it is too timid and does not go far enough. Our budge...More Button

Financial Resolution No. 8 changes the rules on interest rates on benefit-in-kind loans from employers to employees. I hope this is a reflection of the fact that the Minister for Finance expects a...More Button

With regard to Financial Resolution No. 9, last week the House dealt with the new risk equalisation scheme for private health insurance. We all know that the system has changed.More Button

Financial Resolution No. 9: Income Tax (Continued)

There have been various attempts at that legislation in the past. The new regime is in place. People were getting standard rate tax relief on their health insurance premiums net of the age relate...More Button

Fianna Fáil supports Financial Resolutions Nos. 8 and 9. We support the contents of Financial Resolution No. 7 but we oppose it on the basis it is far too mild and does not do enough. We oppose...More Button

The Government is not doing enough.More Button

We brought in the universal social charge. That is why we are over here.More Button

Financial Resolution No. 14: Capital Acquisitions Tax

I welcome the opportunity to speak on this group of motions. While the Minister spoke to one of them, there are four individual motions pertaining to Financial Resolutions Nos. 10 to 14, inclusive...More Button

Yes, they are grouped for voting.More Button

No, Members understand them.More Button

Yes, and the Minister can reply. I am satisfied with that and note the proposals are significant but quite straightforward. I will speak to them in sequence. Resolution No. 10, on which the Mini...More Button

These changes are broadly in line with the budget proposals put forward by Fianna Fáil. Another reason I consider this measure to be a good idea is that in the first instance, it constitutes tax...More Button

Financial Resolution No. 12 proposes a change in the rate of capital gains tax, whereby the current rate of 30% also is to be increased by 3% to 33% and this increase will apply in respect of dis...More Button

Financial Resolution No. 14: Capital Acquisitions Tax (Continued)

This will produce approximately €50 million in any year and we broadly support it. We recommended such a measure in our budget proposal because a gap of €3.5 billion cannot be closed without some ...More Button

Some people may believe we should tax all capital out of existence but a capital gains tax of 33% is reasonable enough. It is a significant increase on the existing rate, which is moving towards...More Button

Yes, or maybe it encouraged more activity.More Button

I agree that at this time in the economic cycle, this measure is appropriate. We need cash and if it is available from the sale of property, other capital assets, shares or investment, the taxpaye...More Button

Financial Resolution No. 13 concerns capital acquisitions tax, with the current rate of 30% being increased by 3% to 33%. That applies to gifts after midnight and is expected to yield €27 millio...More Button

There are a number of resolutions being taken together. We have no problem supporting Financial Resolutions Nos. 10 to 13, inclusive, and I will not oppose Financial Resolution No. 14. In gener...More Button

Dream on.More Button

Dental Services Provision

Asked the Minister for Health: if he will outline on a county basis or an area basis in the Health Service Executive the class in which children in primary schools receive their first dental check; the steps he will take to ensu...More Button

Asked the Minister for Health: the year in which children in primary schools in County Laois receive their first dental check; if he is satisfied that this is sufficient and should there be earlier checks; and if he will make a ...More Button