Fianna Fáil Environment Spokesperson Niall Collins has criticised the Government for pressing ahead with its indiscriminate flat-rate household tax despite the State achieving savings of over €1 Billion in interest on the bailout deal.
Deputy Collins said: “As the Government hails the significant savings for Ireland resulting from developments in the Eurozone, they have refused to pass on any of these savings to cash-strapped households across the country.
“The Government had a real opportunity here to ease the burden on Irish households who are already struggling to pay their bills. However, they made absolutely no effort to raise the issue of household taxes with Europe or to seek any form of renegotiation in light of the fundamental changes in the bailout deal agreed at the European Summit last week.
“Instead, the Government has insisted on pressing ahead with its stealth tax agenda and slapping a new charge on 1.8 million households around the country. Minister Hogan’s household tax will be imposed on a flat rate basis regardless of the varying abilities of each household to pay this extra bill.
“The move is in direct contradiction with Fine Gael’s much lauded opposition to tax increases and the Labour Party’s policy of taxes only being based on people’s ability to pay. The Taoiseach Enda Kenny last year made a solemn pledge to voters not to introduce extra taxes. Speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland, he quoted George W Bush and said: “Read my lips, no more taxes” (09 September 2010). His Cabinet colleague, the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton, has also repeatedly claimed that all taxes should be based on people’s ability to pay, instead of individuals on vastly differing incomes being forced to contribute the same amount. How quickly Fine Gael and Labour have forgotten these values now that they are in Government.
“Families around the country that are already struggling with household bills are getting increasingly nervous about their ability to pay extra charges next year. They want a guarantee that Minister Hogan’s new tax will be scrapped when water charges and property taxes are introduced. Rural communities also want to know if they will be hit with a sceptic tank tax on top of Minister Hogan’s household charges. And households need guarantees that they will see the direct benefit of extra funds being pumped into their local authorities in the form of improved local services.”