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Pension levy Bill includes nothing in the public interest – Morgan

19 February, 2009

Speaking in the Dáil today on the 'Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill 2009' Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD said the title of the Bill is a fraudulent statement in itself. He said there is nothing in the Bill which is in the public interest. Deputy Morgan outlined where his party believed savings could be made and where revenue could be raised.

He said, "I would like to start by stating my complete opposition and the opposition of my party to this legislation. The title of this Bill "Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill 2009" is a fraudulent statement in itself. There is nothing in this Bill which is in the public interest and nothing in the Minister's statement which gives me any hope that this Government will address our public finance problems.

"Fraud is a term that I do not use lightly - but there is a culture of fraud that is endemic in our banking system, which has been part of every Fianna led Government over the past three decades and has dogged each Fianna Fail Taoiseach since Charlie Haughey. And when the identity of the Golden Circle finally becomes clear we will see once and for all that this Government is knee deep in deceit and corruption.

"The Minister has claimed that this so-called Pension levy is fair measure and that the deduction is progressive. This is a question of equity. Where is the fairness in workers who earn €22,000 are made to pay a levy without ever receiving any benefit? Where is the fairness in a public worker on €35,000 paying a 6% levy when her boss on €350,000 pays only 5%? And where is the fairness in workers having to be taxed for a levy on non-pensionable pay?

"My party unlike others have shown where cost savings can be made and where additional revenue can be raised. We have had the courage unlike other opposition parties to call for fairer taxation through the lifting of the PRSI ceiling, the standardising of tax relief, and an end to tax subsidies for private hospitals. We have also given numerous examples of where real waste exists and that is in the area of outsourcing. We need to stop outsourcing which is wasting millions of euro of tax payers money, we need to rein in the CEOs of state bodies and we need to impose a new contract on Irish hospital consultants.

"For the last six months Irish people have been looking for a plan. What people also want to see is a Government that has a strategy to create jobs. With over 150,000 workers laid off over in the last twelve months it is jobs that are the priority and it is retaining jobs and creating jobs that will ultimately address our public finances.

"The Government has shown no initiative - no imagination and no indication that they have a clue what they are doing. This Government is failing to deliver for Irish people, it is failing to restore confidence to people and it is failing to create jobs. Irish workers both public and private need to stay united in these difficult times. They need to oppose the opportunistic measures that the Government are trying to impose." ENDS

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