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Dublin: 7 °C Saturday 25 January, 2020

Senator: Tax the smartphone, and use the money for suicide prevention

Senator Catherine Noone said she will be bringing her idea – inspired by a recent development in France – to the Finance Minister.

A FINE GAEL Senator has called on Ireland to follow France in implementing a new levy on smartphones.

Catherine Noone said the funds raised could be used – not to support the Arts as in Paris – but to help provide for suicide prevention measures.

“The issue of suicide and suicide prevention is again under the spotlight in recent days, thanks in no small part to the inspirational message of Kerry teenager Donal Walsh,” she said.

“While government funding for suicide prevention has actually increased this year, I think we need to be looking at new ways in which to fund suicide prevention measures. Placing a small levy on the sale of smartphones could be a very simple way to generate extra revenues for this crucial area.”

She slated a tax of between one and four per cent of the cost of a device.

“Considering a smartphone can cost several hundred euro, I think adding a few euro as a surcharge would not have a negative impact on phone sales, but it could have a very positive impact in terms of resources for suicide prevention.”

Currently there are 1.6 million smartphone users in Ireland. That figure is expected to rise dramatically in the coming years.

Noone said she intends to raise the idea with Minister Michael Noonan in the coming days and is hoping for a “positive response”.

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