Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance Michael McGrath has described Minister Noonan’s comments today on Fianna Fáil’s income tax policy as inaccurate, deliberately misleading and as a desperate attempt to shift the focus away from areas such as health, housing, Irish Water and mortgage rates, where the coalition’s record has been appalling.

Deputy McGrath commented, “Contrary to Minister Noonan’s comments and of course he knows this very well, Fianna Fail’s budget proposals for 2016 included reductions in the income tax burden for all workers, but our reductions would have been worth proportionately more for low and middle income workers. We adopted this approach because of the range of flat rate taxes and charges introduced by this government which took no account of ability to pay, such as the Local Property Tax, water charges, increased prescription charges, and the abolition of the PRSI exemption limit which cost all workers €264 per annum.

“It is clear that Fine Gael is determined to contest the election on the sole issue of income tax without regard to the consequences their proposals will have for public services. The fundamental difference between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael is that we believe in a fair society. We do not believe in writing off sections of society as Fine Gael has done. Their approach is based on a cynical political calculation rather than what is in the best interests of society overall.

“In case Minister Noonan is under any illusions, Fianna Fáil will be proposing a series of reductions in the Universal Social Charge for workers in our election manifesto. However, we will do so in a responsible way which also takes account of the need to invest in vital areas of public services so badly neglected by this government such as education, health, housing and justice.”