Labour’s USC & PRSI offering is distinct

21 February 2016

In our lives before we were given the opportunity to serve in the Oireachtas, John and I were teachers. John taught for over a decade in St Vincent’s in Glasnevin.

As he said earlier this week, I know he loved teaching children from the community where he grew up.

I had the great pleasure of teaching in St Laurence O’Toole’s National School in Sherriff Street – just across the river from here.

There, I taught hundreds of young girls.

In a disadvantaged community, I taught them to take all the opportunities that came before them.

Every day I went to work with a smile on my face.

They were an inspiring group of people to spend your time with.

And they inspired me to do more for them, and for the local community.

I first entered politics and ran for election whilst I was a teacher.

Working for local people, giving children opportunities, and improving people’s lives, are the issues that motivated me.

I know that these values were shared among my colleagues in the teaching profession.

Teaching is not a profession that people enter in order to make their fortune.

They do it out of a sense of vocation.

And that spirit of serving the public is shared across other sectors of the public service – be it Gardai keeping us safe, or nurses and doctors protecting our health.

The majority of teachers, doctors, and nurses are on low to middle incomes.

Average earnings are not high.

Over the years of the economic downturn and deep recession, they also had to endure cuts and reductions.

Now that we have an economic recovery, it is right that they should be the primary beneficiaries of the package of tax reductions that we are proposing.

And, of course, it is not just teachers, nurses, or Gardai who will benefit from our proposals to reduce the USC.

It also includes all other private sector workers. Office administrators. People working in tech companies. Retail assistants.

Those in the first stages of their career.

Those who need to begin to save.

Those who are trying to plan for the future.

All those people earning average wages will benefit.

Labour’s offering in this regard is distinct from that being put forward by all other parties in this election.

Sinn Fein seem to care not a whit for people on lower incomes.

Fianna Fail want an effective tax giveaway from high earners.

Only Labour is determined that those on average earnings should benefit.

And it is they whom we are focussing our tax proposals on. 

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