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McDonald accuses Fine Gael and Labour of indulging in auction politics

19 April, 2007

Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has accused Fine Gael and Labour of indulging in auction politics after the publication of their joint economic proposals today. Ms. McDonald said that by proposing massive income tax cuts while at the same time promising increased and improved public services Fine Gael and Labour are attempting to pull the wool over the eyes of the electorate.

Ms. McDonald said, "The Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis showed us the type of auction politics to expect in this general election. And now in turn Fine Gael and Labour have followed suit with massive tax cutting proposals. Sinn Féin is opposed to these reckless proposals.

"The biggest concern for the Irish people is that despite the growth in our economy our public services continue to suffer. We have a crisis in our health services with sick people having to suffer for days on end on trolleys while waiting for a bed. There is a major housing crisis with almost 44,000 families waiting to be housed. Our children are being taught in substandard and overcrowded classrooms and we have a major drugs crisis which is overflowing into gang warfare on our streets. This is not a time for reckless tax cuts.

"Sinn Féin wants to build a strong economy sustainable into the future. We believe in building the economy and using the wealth created for the public good. We believe in the right to universal access to decent healthcare, education and childcare and to the constitutional right to a home.

"Sinn Féin wants to see a reform of the taxation system. We want to see tax justice in Ireland. We believe that people should pay according to their ability to pay. In Government we would immediately lower the tax burden on low and average income earners and remove unfair tax advantages for the wealthy. Our initial priorities will be to stop tax breaks for private for profit hospital developers, increase the minimum wage to 60% of the average industrial wage and keep those earning it out of the tax net. We will ensure that all those on the average industrial wage are in the standard tax band, and aggressively close down the remaining tax avoidance schemes and go after tax evaders. We will remove all tax exemptions other than where the social and economic value outweighs the cost to the exchequer like for example in Research and Development, and we would end tax exile status.

"We do not support Fine Gael and Labour's proposals to abolish stamp duty as developers would inevitably cash in on the potential by increasing house prices and house buyers would be no better off. Instead, Sinn Féin proposes to increase mortgage tax relief for first time buyers and the building of 70,000 new social housing units by 2012." ENDS

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