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Monday 11 December 2023 Dublin: 10°C
Tiger Kidnappings

Shatter leaves Ahern’s ‘ATM tax’ idea in smithereens

Fine Gael’s justice spokesman ridicules the justice minister’s idea of a “kidnapper’s tax” for ATM withdrawals.

FINE GAEL TD Alan Shatter has condemned Dermot Ahern’s “extraordinarily insensitive” and “amazingly stupid” proposal to levy a charge on people accessing cash from ATMs.

Shatter, Fine Gael’s spokesperson on Justice, told Newstalk radio that his government counterpart “wants to cow-tow to crime bosses” by hitting the everyday consumer.

Such was Shatter’s rejection of the idea that he dubbed the levy a “kidnapper’s tax”, explaining that Ahern’s solution seemed to be that if people “want to access their own hard-earned money… they should pay a penal sum to a bank.”

Shatter went on to suggest there was a need for the justice minister to clarify whether he had “any other bizarre policy initiatives hidden up his sleeve.”

“Is he going to now propose that we have a tax imposed on every household resident when they enter their own home as a response to house burglaries?” a baffled Shatter asked.

“If you or I walk down a street – each time we change street, is it the minister’s suggestion that we pay a tax as some response to street muggings?”

He went on:

The idea that you charge individuals – husbands, wives, men and women, teenagers, children, everyone who has a bank account – a sum of money every time they seek to make a withdrawl of their own monies from their own account can only result in one consequence: which is people will stop lodging money in banks, people will hoard their money in their own home, which gives rise to concerns about an increase in burglaries.

Shatter said he was left with the conclusion that Ahern’s suggestion was following the lead of the party’s former leader.

“Maybe this is part of some overall Fianna Fáil policy initiative [...] in sync with the initiatve former Taoiseach and leader of Fianna Fáil, Deputy [Bertie] Ahern pioneered.

“He seemed to favour keeping large wads of cash in his mattress. Maybe this is part of a new Fianna Fáil mattress nitiative that Deputy Ahern wants to sponsor?”