Today the budget for 2015 was announced in Dail Eireann.
The main measures for next year are detailed in this on-line document here.
To read the Financial Statement from the Minister for Finance, click here.
To read the Expenditure Estimates announcement from the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, click here.
For more detailed information, including breakdowns across departments and the exact changes to taxation and how they might affect you, click here.
The system of direct provision for foreign nationals seeking asylum in Ireland was debated in the Dáil.
During my comments on the matter I called for an amnesty for all those in the system longer than four years.
I said that the system being allowed to remain in place for more than a decade was a form of institutional racism that shamed the Irish people.
You can watch my contribution here.
My Comments in full on the pre-budget statement from the Fiscal Advisory Board.
We are still borrowing far too much money to fund the state each year. The sooner we reduce the amount we borrow, the sooner we reduce the taxation burden on working people, so that once again work pays.
Today a person earning 36,000euro pays roughly one thousand euro of their taxes just to pay-off the interest on our national debt. The majority of that debt was built up not by bailing out the banks, but by continuing to run a state sector we could no longer afford.
We need to reduce the burden of the state on people, and we do that by repairing the public finances and by balancing the books.
Click here to continue reading.
Click here to read my latest newsletter.
Inside you can read about:
Making work pay
School enrolment changes
The Banking Inquiry
Funding for local sports clubs
All things bicycling
Rathgar Village Improvement Plan
Recently, when speaking in the Dáil, the new Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald TD addressed the issue of reforming the Gardai. She spoke about the need to be vigilant about reform – about the need for constant questioning. Though she was speaking about the Gardai and the Department of Justice, I think the following extract says something that holds relevance for our entire political system:
“But time passed and systems failed. That’s the truth of it. And that’s a truth that should inform our thinking from now on. We must never be seduced into believing that a once-in-a-lifetime radical reform is enough. More to the point, we must understand that major reforms carry their own inbuilt danger: the assumption that, because of the scale of change, we won’t need to be vigilant from that point on. If there’s a single overarching lesson we – and all the organs of the state related to justice – must learn, it is that major reform never removes the need for constant questioning, constant attention to detail, constant reaching for what is better, constant review, rather than what will “just do.’”
Statement in the Dáil by Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald TD, on the report by Sean Guerin SC in to actions taken by An Garda Siochana pertaining to certain allegations, 15 May 2014.
To read the full speech go here.
On 23 May you will be asked to vote in two elections:
- for the person you want to represent Dublin in the European Parliament;
- and for the people you want to represent you and our area on Dublin City Council.
Both elections are of considerable significance given the new powers devolved to DCC as well as the increased role of the European Parliament in our affairs.
But are you registered to vote in these elections?
Go to checktheregister.ie to find out. You may have moved house recently but not moved your vote.
Once you have checked the registered you can get the relevant forms, where necessary here.
This is you last opportunity as the voting register closes on Tuesday 6 May.
Be sure that you can have your say on election day.
Do you think the sale of alcohol should be banned on Good Friday? Or is it time to break this outdated law? Or do you even care that much?
The ban of alcohol sales on Good Friday is something of an anachronism in today’s Ireland.
With that in mind, Young Fine Gael have launched a campaign to ‘break the ban’. I think their arguments are sound, but why not take a look for yourself below.
There’s also a cool infographic here.
“We are calling on the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter T.D., to ‘Break the Ban’ on alcohol sales on Good Friday as we believe the legislation is outdated, inconsistent and anti-business…
“Legislation has to reflect the Ireland we live in today, not a century ago. There was a time when it was considered a social taboo to order meat on a Friday but Ireland has come a long way since then…
“Currently, exemptions allow the sale of alcohol in some cultural institutions or to members of the public engaging in travel by air, rail or ferry. Hotels may serve alcohol only with a meal but then why not restaurants? Serving beverages with a meal is an essential part of any restaurants business, as a consequence of this law, many restaurants will close their doors on Good Friday. This legislation is outdated, inconsistent and anti-enterprise. We should allow people of religious faith to follow this tradition of Good Friday if they wish, but not allow this day to become known as Bad Friday for struggling businesses”.
To read my latest newsletter, click here.
Inside you can read about:
- The PAC: Public Spending Watchdog
- Creating Jobs
- More NAMA oversight needed
- The coming banking inquiry
- Tax Transparency
- School enrolment policy change
- In Brief: Ranelagh Gardens clean-up; Terenure 2030; the new Oireachtas App for Iphone & more…
- Transport Improvements in Dublin Bay South
- Ireland to host Rugby World Cup?
The following opinion piece appeared in the Sunday Business Post (26th January 2014):
In trying to identify the most meaningful way to reform our political system and parliament, we must seek out solutions that recognise human nature and adapt to it, rather than ignore it.
“Everything has changed”, Albert Einstein once said, “except our way of thinking.”
We are still going through a financial crisis of such significance for this country that at its zenith it threatened the identity, if not the very existence of the state. It dramatically refocused people’s attention on our political culture and heralded a demand from people for ‘new politics’ and better politicians.
And yet today’s TD, almost six years on from the onset of the political and economic crisis, is still expected by the citizen to assist with the local, to attend to the pot hole or the medical card when asked (and he or she is frequently asked). And with every hour spent sitting in the Dáil chamber observing debate on legislation say, and not attending to their constituents’ needs, that TD’s chances of re-election diminish.
Read more here.
To access your Tax Transparency Calculator, click here.
In advance of the 2014 Budget announcement from the government, I have launched a ‘Tax Transparency Calculator.’
This is about showing people how their taxes are spent by the government each year, in simple euros and cents. You can enter basic details as to salary, marital status, number of children etc, and the calculator will calculate your annual tax payments and then break this down indicatively according to what government departments spend.
For example, you can see how many euros of your taxes are spent on things like primary education, roads, the Gardai, paying off interest on the national debt – even the cost to you personally of the Oireachtas.
With the significant correction to the national finances – and particularly as we move towards balanced budgets – it is important to inform people in as much detail as possible, but also in an understandable way, of the difficult spending choices facing the government and the country.
Once we have a calculator for income taxes, the next logical move would be to provide something similar for VAT payments, excise, local property taxes and business rates.
Other organisations like publicpolicy.ie have produced something similar, but what makes this different is that it has two components, one that calculates the taxes that you pay, and the second component which then breaks this down in euros and cents. But, having the Department provide such a tool could make it far more detailed but would also lend greater credibility and authority to the figures provided. And that’s what I’m asking for in conjunction with Budget 2014.
This is something I proposed last November with the Tax Transparency Bill 2012, which received all party support at second stage to move to committee stage. This hasn’t happened yet, but in fact the Minister doesn’t need to wait for approval of all of the elements of that Bill. The Minister can proceed immediately with publishing a Tax Transparency calculator on the Department’s website. It’s not complicated and all of the information is already there – this is just about packaging it in a way that is easy to access.
President Obama already provides a similar calculator on the WhiteHouse website and the UK is moving to introduce something similar next year. By publishing a Tax Transparency calculator on my own website I hope to show to the government how easy it would be for the Department to do something similar.
The Tax Transparency Calculator can be found here.
To watch my second stage speech as well as a video of the debate last November, including the response from Minister Noonan, click here.
For the details of the Bill and memorandum, click here.
The breakdown of figures produced by the calculator is an approximation and has been calculated based on figures (gross voted) provided by the Department of Finance, in conjunction with information contained on the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform’s website http://per.gov.ie/databank.