SF seeks publication of memo

Fri, Nov 18, 2011, 00:00

Sinn Féin has called on the Government to publish the confidential document about proposed Irish tax measures which was shown to the finance committee of the German parliament yesterday.

The party’s finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said the incident was “deeply embarrassing” for the Government.

He said taxtion measures that were to be announced in the Budget next month had been revealed to parliamentarians across Europe but were still being kept secret and hidden from members of the Oireachtas, and indeed from the public.

He said called on the Government to immediately publish the 40-page confidential document and the attachments associated with it and asked that Taoiseach Enda Kenny make a “very clear” statement on the matter.

Speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland, Mr Doherty said there were questions to be answered, such as whether the parliamentarians in other countries had been given information on expenditure cuts planned in the Budget.

Mr Doherty accepted that some of the measures, such as the rise in VAT, had already been flagged in the memorandum of understanding signed with the troika partners, although the proposed dates of changes had not been revealed.

He said it was very clear the document, dated November 11th, was “clearly the Minister for Finance’s view as to what taxation measures he will take in the Budget”.

Mr Doherty said any information in the public domain in other European member states now needed to be put on the public record.

It was not fair that information that affected Ireland was being discussed in other parliaments and that the Government refused to release it in Ireland.

The Sinn Féin TD also said he disagreed with the proposed rise in VAT, which would cause "shocks within the domestic economy" and would lead to job losses.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin later said the disclosures to foreign politicians are unprecedented.

“For the public outside it defies belief and demands explanation from the Government and demands clarification as to what information is going to be put before 40 members of the German parliament in relation to details of the forthcoming budget,” he said.