Tánaiste kite-flying on tax reveals lack of substantive thought

13 June 2021

Labour Party Spokesperson on Finance Ged Nash has described today’s comments from the Tánaiste on income tax cuts as “standard election related kite-flying by Fine Gael” that “reveals the party’s obsession with Sunday morning headlines over real, sustainable policy development.”

Mr Nash said that Ireland needed to engage in some serous thinking on economic matters in the coming years and faced multi-faceted challenges in the areas of housing, climate agriculture and tax.

Deputy Nash said:

“If Leo Varadkar spent half as much time making policy as he did manufacturing eye-catching newspaper headlines Ireland would be better placed to meet the difficult challenges ahead.

“If we are serious about housing, serious about climate change and serious about meeting the challenge to our economy posed by international tax negotiations, now is not the time to be kite-flying about income tax cuts.  

“To take the general point the Tánaiste has raised, to make the standard of living and the quality of life better in our cities for residents and workers requires first and foremost a better working and living environment in our towns and cities. This depends on smart investment and good planning and not tax cuts.

“The government has already been reprimanded by the Fiscal Advisory Council recently for the paucity of its multi-annual financial planning. Instead of taking heed, the Tánaiste wants to throw another spanner into the works.

“We are entering a period in which we will require considerable investment in our infrastructure and our farmers to meet the complex climate challenges ahead.  

“The ESRI has already documented the scale of investment required to improve our drastic housing shortage.  

“It is unfortunate that the Tánaiste only wants to use the economy as a political platform to boost his own fortunes. We need a more considered and open response than that.  

“This week he rebuked me for calling for a mature debate on corporation tax policy. A mere two days later his colleague, the Minister for Finance, made similar points to mine.

“I think we need some honesty here and stop conning the Irish people that their futures depend on tax cuts. 

“To do what we need to do in the years ahead and to deal with the uncertainty in our path we need a sustainable tax base and a commitment to sound and sustainable public finances. On the basis of this morning’s kite flying, the Tánaiste appears committed to neither.”

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