Attempt made to 'bypass' Oireachtas


SEANAD:A DISCLOSURE in The Irish Times indicated that there had been an attempt to bypass parliament in relation to tax breaks for high earners, Seán Barrett (Ind) said.

Part of the problem over collection of the household charge was that people felt it was unfair that lobbyists could just walk into the Department of Finance and secure huge tax concessions, he said.

Mr Barrett noted that the newspaper report by Carl O’Brien stated that the Revenue Commissioners had raised serious concerns over the fairness of aspects of the tax breaks aimed at luring multinational executives to Ireland.

It was disconcerting that these measures had been brought into effect so soon after the passing of the Finance Bill and the expression of concern by the commissioners, said Mr Barrett. They would be of substantial benefit to people earning between €75,000 and €500,000 annually.

The documentation relating to the lobbying should be placed in the Oireachtas Library for examination by elected members, because there had obviously been an attempt to bypass parliament.

Labhrás Ó Murchú (FF) said there must be a better way of attracting executives from abroad. The preferential treatment raised questions about the value placed on the work of Irish people in executive positions here.

Cait Keane (FG) said she wanted to know what sanctions would be taken against those who had made what had been called the mistake of transferring Martin McDermott to an open prison while serving a sentence for the killing of Garda Gary McLoughlin. “I want the whole thing investigated further.”

Rónán Mullen (Ind) said he would be concerned if what had happened was to have a chilling effect on the use of open prisons in terms of rehabilitation.