We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Leah Farrell
pizza and inheritance tax

Taoiseach doesn't agree with Varadkar's tax report remarks comparing some ideas to SF manifesto

A tax on processed foods, a congestion charge and tax on wealth – just some of the ideas in the report published yesterday.

TAOISEACH MICHEÁL MARTIN has said that he does not agree with the comments made by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar who yesterday dismissed several conclusions in a major tax report, describing them as “straight out of the Sinn Féin manifesto”.

The new report by the Commission on Taxation and Welfare examined Ireland’s fiscal position and future possibilities for tax and social welfare.

It offered recommendations on how the government should proceed, including lowering the threshold for inheritance tax, which is understood to be the main proposal in which the Tánasite took issue with.

Other recommendations in the report which have received publicity include an additional tax on electricity used by households, VAT on highly processed foods, a congestions charge, an increase in property taxes and an increase in the 9% VAT rate for hotels, restaurants and pubs. 

ESRI economist and member of the Commission who carried out the report over 18 months, Barra Roantree told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that he didn’t think the Tánaiste’s remarks were “particularly helpful”. 

The Commission is independent and made up of variety of sources and experts from areas in tax and welfare, unions, and NGOs, he explained. 

He said a higher level of taxation will be needed in the future in order to fund public services. While it might be unpopular to say in the current climate, he said new and higher taxes will be needed due to the wind down of fossil fuels and the tax derived from them as well as Ireland’s over-reliance on corporation tax. 

The report recommends shifting taxation away from income to consumption and property, he said. 

When asked about Varadkar’s remarks comparing some of the recommendations to being similar to the Sinn Féin manifesto, Martin said: 

I wouldn’t agree with those remarks.

He added: “Well, we live in a democracy and people are entitled to have their perspectives.”

Speaking to the Tanaiste on the margins of the Cabinet meeting yesterday, Martin said it is would be fair to say that Varadkar had been complimentary of the report. 

“I think one has to read the report in its entirety,” said the Taoiseach, who said the recommendations were never envisaged to be adopted in this budget, or even next year’s budget. 

A longer term outlook around how the Irish economy generates revenue over the next 10 to 15 years is the aim of the report, said the Taoiseach.

“There are genuine issues to be debated and argued,” he said, adding:

“There will be no easy choices. Some individual ones [recommendations] I wouldn’t agree with necessarily. But I do take the point that was made this morning on radio [by Roantree], that there is an obligation then – we are not in favour of some, so what ones do we think should for take their place,” said Martin. 

“It’s a very serious report. It’s very comprehensive, it’s detailed,” he said.

Introducing new taxes such as the local property tax and the carbon tax have been difficult, politically, said the Taoiseach. 

A number of people have criticised the Tánaiste’s remarks, with Labour’s Ged Nash stating that “the Tanaiste is wrong”. 

He said the recommendations could have been drawn from a Labour manifesto, not a Sinn Féin one. Nash said Sinn Féin is weak on taxing the greatest sources of wealth, adding that the bulk of the report isn’t radical.

Professor of Economic as the University of Limerick Stephen Kinsella said there is briefing against the report that the Government commissioned, calling it “not only dangerous, it is populist and irresponsible”.

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel