Stephen Collins: Varadkar is gambling on tax cuts

Returning to the tax-cutting agenda does not appear at first to make sense unless there has been a change of public mood since 2016

November 18th, 2018: Speaking at the weekend's Fine Gael Árd Fheis, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says he will cut taxes over the next five years if the party stays in power. Video: Fine Gael

Leo Varadkar’s promise of tax cuts for middle-income earners looked like the opening salvo in the next election campaign. It caught his political opponents by surprise, and while they were almost unanimous in condemning it we won’t know until after the election whether it was a masterstroke or a blunder.

One of the mistakes politicians make is that they tend to fight the next election on the same ground as the previous one, and are always surprised when the tactic doesn’t work. Given that the outcome of the 2016 election was determined by the issue of “fairness” rather than tax, there was a wide assumption that the next one would be all about improving public services.

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