Leo Needs to Invigorate a Tired Administration
Speech by Joan Burton in Dáil Éireann on Leo Varadkar’s election as Taoiseach
“On my own behalf and on behalf of the people of Dublin West I want to express my congratulations and good wishes to Leo’s family – his parents Miriam and Ashock and his partner Matt. This is a very proud day for their family and a great achievement.
“The new Taoiseach and I have the honor to represent the most diverse part of Ireland, where 30% of the population is either foreign born or who’s parents were born abroad. Dublin West represents a microcosm of the successes and challenges facing modern Ireland.
“Global and Irish business leaders such as IBM and Paypal along with major Irish employers such as Dunnes and Keelings provide jobs for thousands of workers in Dublin West.
“There is a huge population of young people, families and also a growing older population. Dublin West also faces many Social Challenges alongside economic growth.
“The new Taoiseach must hit the ground running.
“There are decisions he must make almost immediately, if he is to invigorate a tired and becalmed administration.
“On the social side he must decide a target date for a referendum on the 8th amendment. Either next April or May before the Pope’s visit to Ireland. Be clear we do not want any more horror stories like yesterday – a young girl detained on mental health reasons. A woman who must make the lonely journey to Britain because her baby was diagnosed with fatal foetal abnormalities.
“I hope the new Taoiseach will opt for a clear programme of tax justice.
“You must end the scandal of extraordinarily profitable companies paying little or no Corporation Tax at all.
“That’s why I’m advocating a minimum effective corporation tax structure, so that corporations must contribute a fair share and a standing commission on taxation that will address loopholes and flaws in our tax system as they arise.
“Late last year the Revenue Commissioners advised that the financial services and construction sectors managed to avoid €1.24 billion in taxes in 2014, the most recent year for which data is available. We will have the 2015 data shortly; the revenue Commissioners and Minister might confirm when we will have those figures. An extraordinary amount of tax losses have built up in our system. We have accumulated losses in all sectors of over €15 billion, in the financial services sector of over €9 billion and in the construction sector of over €400 million.
“I said that this is a tired and be calmed administration.
“So far we seem to have a:
· Disfunctional Department of Justice & Gardai
· A health service which 3 FG health ministers including yourself have been unable to reform
· And a housing situation that notwithstanding huge resources going in since 2014/15 in failing to produce the affordable and social houses that people and families need
“One of the first demands of Simon & Leo in the 2011 General Election was “a bonfire of the quangos”
“Well let me say now that unless you develop a new state authority to develop social and affordable housing we are going to be faced with a 20 year housing crisis.
“Finally on Brexit and the Island of Ireland and Northern Ireland- a republic of hearts and minds has eluded us. Today there is a renewed bitterness of Republicans and Unionists. You Leo, have to seek to mend that, and build an island, an Ireland of hearts and minds.”