Budget has failed to ease pressure on working families – Pearse Doherty

Sinn Féin says Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil represent ‘cosseted, privileged class’

The Budget has failed to ease the pressure on workers and families but has instead favoured bankers, insurance companies and vested interests that the Government and Fianna Fáil “will never stand up to”, Sinn Féin has claimed.

Party finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said that on top of "out of control rents, rip-off insurance premiums, unaffordable childcare costs, they are now faced with increased charges in the form of a hype in carbon taxes".

He said what starts today with a €6 increase will continue to rise “squeezing households with no alternatives”.

Mr Doherty acknowledged the Government was starting to deal with serious tax avoidance among property investors, introducing a 20 per cent capital gains tax where previously exempt for property sold by real estate investment trusts.


But he said it did not level the playing field because it was 20 per cent when any other company had to pay capital gains tax of 33 per cent.

And he claimed the Government was failing to deal with a loophole where a property fund that avoided paying €100 million in tax through capital gains exemptions was avoiding paying commercial stamp duty at 6 per cent.

They were “now able to use a 1 per cent loophole which will cost taxpayers €67 million and the Government has not indicated it will close this loophole. This measure alone would have stemmed the sell off and generated €36 million.” Mr Doherty said this measure would have funded medical cards for over 17,000 people with cancer, for the duration of their treatment.

This Government “introduced child homelessness as a permanent feature in our society and have laid out the red carpet for the cuckoo funds and for the speculators who have bought out our cities, pushed out prices.”

The Donegal TD said when the country faced big challenges it was a time for “big ideas, for bold policies for solutions for ordinary people”, but it was short on ideas, on policy and real solutions.

He hit out at tax relief for millionaires that meant an effective income tax rate of 28 per cent while there had been cuts in disability funding.

The party’s Dublin Bay North TD Denise Mitchell said Dublin is one of the most expensive cities in the world in which to have a child, but “this Government doesn’t seem to have a clue as to how to give working families a break”.

She said “here’s nothing in this Budget for renters while the winners are those profiteering from the housing crisis”.

Sinn Féin public expenditure and reform spokesman David Cullinane said Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil both represented a "cosseted, privileged class" including builders and developers and not ordinary people.

He accused the Government of “sitting on your hands” while rents increase year on year and it is out of the reach of thousands to buy their own homes.

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times