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Government preventing adequate debate and scrutiny of Finance Bill – Doherty

23 February, 2012 - by Pearse Doherty TD

The Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has accused the Government of “deliberately scheduling the Finance Bill committee stage debate in order to prevent adequate debate and scrutiny.”

His comments come following a vote during Order of Business this morning.

Deputy Doherty said:

“The Government is deliberately scheduling the Finance Bill committee stage debate in order to prevent adequate debate and scrutiny. They are doing this in exactly the same way as Fianna Fáil did in previous years.

“There are approximately 115 amendments tabled for the committee stage of the Finance Bill to be debated over seventeen and a half hours. Controversially the Government had decided to squeeze 76 of these amendments into the first three hours. The remaining 39 amendments are being given fourteen and a half hours for consideration.

“It is no surprise that the 76 amendments being squeezed into a three hour debate deal with the most controversial sections of the Bill including the failure of Government to abolish property tax reliefs, the SARP tax break and the revisions of the tax code for pension funds in excess of €2.3 million. It also includes a number of important amendments dealing with issues of the Universal Social Charge, wealth taxes and income taxes on high earners.

“That the government is giving a mere 142 seconds for each of these important amendments clearly demonstrates that they do not want these important matters to be scrutinised in full public view.

“It is unfortunate that the Government pushed through a vote on this matter this morning during Order of Business. I am calling on the Government to reconsider its position and allow the Finance Committee themselves to decide the allocation of time to amendments to the Finance Bill to ensure proper consideration of the issues contained in that Bill.”

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