Fianna Fáil Press Office
Cllr Jack Chambers
Dublin West

27 January 2016

Leo’s claims are inaccurate – Chambers

Fianna Fáil candidate for Dublin West Cllr Jack Chambers has hit back at comments made by Minister for Health Leo Varadkar on RTE’s Claire Byrne show earlier this week.

“On the programme on Monday night Minister for Varadkar dismissed my comments and instead made a series of claims that are downright inaccurate. Unlike him, I’ve done my research and I can refute all the allegations he made,” added Cllr Chambers.

Minister Vardakar’s incorrect claim Number 1:

“Cllr Chamber’s claim that we implemented Brian Lenihan’s plan is entirely incorrect. The Fianna Fáil plan included an extra €600m in income taxes, we didn’t increase income tax.”
Fact: Between 2012 and 2014 Fine Gael introduced €902m in tax increases on income and a €2.5bn raid on pensions which will reduce people’s future income:

    €m
2012 USC put on cumulative basis 47
  Increase in DIRT to 30% 50
2013 Maternity benefit taxed 40
  Top slicing relief on redundancy payments reduced 10
  Increase in Dirt to 33% 64
  Full USC applied to over 70s earning > 60k 38
  Abolition of PRSI allowance 289
  Increase in minimum PRSI for self employed 18
  Abolition of PRSI block exemption for income from trade or profession 32
2014 One parent tax credit only available to principal carer 25
  Restriction on tax relief for medical insurance 127
  Abolition of top slicing relief 22
  Increase in DIRT tax to 41% 140
    902

 

Minister Varadkar’s incorrect claim Number 2:

“We reduced other taxes very smartly, when I was in tourism we got rid of the airport travel tax and partially as a result of that airports are booming.”

Fact: The abolition of the air travel tax was announced in May 2011 but was not actually abolished until April 2014.  It was only under sustained pressure from Fianna Fáil that it was eventually abolished. The money to fund the abolition came from a €2.5bn raid on private pensions. Parliamentary questions revealed that much of the money raised from the levy was not being spent on the purposes for which it was intended.

Minister Varadkar’s incorrect claim Number 3:

“The VAT rebate on home improvements has helped construction to recover again”

Fact: While the home improvement market has recovered somewhat the far more important housing construction market has gone from bad to worse. No action has been taken to improve housing supply. Just yesterday the Central Bank indicates that it now expects only 14,000 residential completions in 2016, down from 18,500 previously.

“These are yet more examples of the Minister’s inability to grasp the (correct) facts. How can we believe anything he says,” asked Cllr Chambers.

-ENDS-