07/05/15 Senator Daly speaks to the Seanad on Europe Day and the European Commission’s work programme

Senator Daly: I welcome that we are having a debate on Europe Day. It is appropriate to have it and my colleague, Senator Leyden, will be taking the debate for Fianna Fáil. There are many issues to consider in this context and I raise an issue I raised yesterday in regard to the Commission’s work programme from which it is clear that it wants to take away Ireland’s corporate tax advantage by ensuring that any profits generated by companies based in Ireland will be paid in the country where it perceives they are generated. In this consumer age where Internet banking and Internet sales and activity are done in cyber space, it will be difficult for the Commission to define how a product is sold in Germany if it is bought through an Irish-based company. The EU is determined to take away our corporate tax advantage and that proposal is included in the work programme. Its work programme has been passed apparently by a committee of these Houses and brought before the House without having been debated. That is not the scrutiny or the transparency that we had hoped for or that the Government had promised, having regard to allowing this proposal to remain in the Commission’s the work programme. It should be removed and Ireland should seek its removal.

I note that today’s newspapers are full of more election promises for members of the public sector who are in line to gain €800 euro each. If the previous generosity of the Government with regard to the public sector is anything to go by, the money will go to those at the top end not to those at the bottom. Let us break down the €800 figure. This year we will borrow €4.6 billion, which works out at €2,500 per working person. What the Government is doing is borrowing money to buy votes.

It will borrow €2,500 per person and having borrowed that amount on behalf of the public sector, it will give each of them each back €800. That is three-card-trick economics at its best.

We can also note that 250 people in this country have assets of €76 billion while the combined net worth of half the population is €63 billion. Some of those 250 people with their billions in assets are not even paying the €200,000 exile tax that the Government imposed. It has not collected that tax, those people are not being pursued for it yet they have assets worth more than the assets of half of the population combined. The Government is saying that this is okay. Those people who are tax exiles are based all over Europe on this Europe Day. They live in Monte Carlo and places where the sun shines a lot more than it shines here. Yet, even the Government’s tax policy with respect to the domiciliary levy is not being collected from those people who can well afford to pay it. When we consider we will borrow €2,500 per working person and then give public sector workers a pay increase, that represents three-card-trick economics at its finest. I ask on this Europe Day that the Government pursue those people who are not paying the €200,000 levy and to name and shame them.

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