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Warnings about dependence on revenue related to the property sector ignored – Sinn Féin

22 June, 2007


Sinn Féin's Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has said news that the exchequer is to lose €500 million in tax revenues because of a sharp drop in the number of houses built in the second half of 2007 is no surprise. Ó Snodaigh said that repeated warnings from Sinn Féin about the dependence of the exchequer on revenue related to property and consumption have continued to be ignored.

Speaking today Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "Sinn Féin has long warned that the state is overly dependent on the property sector for revenue. Today it has been revealed that the exchequer is to lose around €500 million in tax revenues because of a sharp drop in the number of houses built in the second half of 2007. Sinn Féin has been highlighting the fact that the extent to which the state is reliant on revenue related to the property and consumption places us in an unacceptably vulnerable position

"This reduction in revenue which the exchequer is now experiencing further confirms the folly of the pre-election promises by Fianna Fáil and other parties to cut income tax. The reality is that further reductions in income tax would make the exchequer increasingly dependent on other more insecure sources of tax revenue such as those related to property and consumption (i.e. VAT).

"The Minister for Finance must now without further delay outline what steps he intends to take to cushion against the economic effects of a downturn in the construction sector - both in terms of jobs and in terms of revenue that may potentially be lost to the exchequer.

"I reiterate Sinn Féin's demand that the incoming Government:

- Commence an immediate review of the taxation system to redress the current overdependence of the exchequer on revenue related to property and consumption and ensure that the state continues to have the revenue necessary to maintain and improve public services and social protections.

- Take action to ensure alternative employment opportunities for those employed in the construction sector, many of whose jobs are likely to go in the years ahead." ENDS

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