Sinn Féin - On Your Side

McCreevy's motto is property before people

12 February, 2004

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Finance Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin TD has described the Finance Bill in a Dáil debate as "disgraceful" for retaining and extending property-based tax shelters for the wealthy.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"The retention and extension of these shelters is the most disgraceful aspect of this Bill. Developers of private hospitals, sports injuries clinics, hotels, holiday cottages and multi-storey car parks do not need tax breaks. In this Government dominated by PD ideology, we have no evaluation of the option of direct State investment of these funds in projects that would be of real social and economic benefit. The massive sums lost to the exchequer by these scams could be used to improve the lives of ordinary people the length and breadth of this country. But this government's motto is property before people.

"Minister McCreevy and his colleagues throw spending figures around like confetti but they cannot hide the fact that the rich-poor gap has widened since they took office nearly seven years ago. The Government's own National Anti-Poverty Strategy recognises that nearly 25% of children are living in poverty, representing some 300,000 children.

"This Minister and this Government do not see the taxation system as it should be seen - a key resource of the people to help ensure the just distribution of the nation's wealth. We have the lowest level of taxation as a percentage of GDP of any EU country. Yet, as a result of the Budget, over half of taxpayers in the State now pay at the higher rate of 42%. They range from people on just above the average industrial wage to the highest paid people in the State.

"As a result of a low tax take overall, bad government policy and gross mismanagement we do not have the essential social services that we need and that we could enjoy. The average worker who cannot afford private healthcare and who feels the brunt of stealth taxes suffers while the wealthiest earners who have been allowed to escape their obligation to pay their fair share of tax are the beneficiaries. They enjoy the benefits of private healthcare and they reap the rewards of property-based tax shelters created by this government and retained and extended in this Finance Bill." ENDS

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