Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Fianna Fáil - the party of the property speculator and the multi-millionaire developer

8 February, 2006


Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson and Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has described as “disgraceful and totally unacceptable” the fact that tax relief for developers of private hospitals and nursing homes is to be consolidated and extended in the Finance Bill. Speaking in the Dáil this evening he described Fianna Fáil as “the party of the property speculator and the multi-millionaire developer.”

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, “The Review of Tax Reliefs is a catalogue of daylight robbery of the ordinary PAYE taxpayer and of those on or below the poverty line. It is robbery of the poor by the rich facilitated by this Government. Reading the Report is like assessing your losses after the burglars have left your house. It is too late to do anything about it. The robbers have fled with the loot, cheered on by former Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy.

“The Report makes clear that these tax reliefs have been seen primarily as incentives for the construction industry. But they have poured public money into a booming private sector for developments that would have happened anyway, as is clear from the Report. This is public money that should have been spent directly on providing the infrastructure and social services we need. Instead it has mostly benefited individuals whom the Report estimates earn at least €100,000 per year.

“The Finance Bill promises to bring many of the tax reliefs to a close, but with an extension to 2008. But others remain open and still others are being extended. This Bill sees the Minister cleaning out the trough after most of the pigs have eaten their fill. But for others there’s more swill to come.

“It is disgraceful and totally unacceptable that in this Finance Bill the tax relief for developers of private hospitals and nursing homes is to be consolidated and extended. This is a huge subsidy to the thriving private health business that needs such support least. Profit-driven operators are being rewarded again at a time when all State spending in health should be invested in public health and social services that care for everyone based on need alone and not on ability to pay and the profit motive.

“€37 million has been spent on tax breaks for Private Hospitals so far, rewarding the wealthy operators of the thriving private health industry and reinforcing the two-tier public-private system. No public money should have been spent on such private hospitals yet this Finance Bill actually extends this tax relief.

“Fianna Fáil once prided itself on being the party of the small farmer and the urban worker. Today it is the party of the property speculator and the multi-millionaire developer. This Finance Bill does nothing to disturb their night’s sleep.” ENDS

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