Stark Choice warns FG Minister

Income tax will “go up” if there is no property tax or household charge, A Government Minister warned the Fine Gael party faithfull this week.

Income tax will “go up” if there is no property tax or household charge, A Government Minister warned the Fine Gael party faithfull this week.

Laois Offaly Fine Gael held their constituency AGM in the Macra Hall in Mountmellick last Monday night in advance of their upcoming Ard Fheis. The guest speaker was Minister of State at the Department of Finance, Brian Hayes TD.

With the deadline for the household charge looming this weekend, Minister Hayes said only way we can resolve our current financial problems is to look at new sources of taxation.

“The gap between spending and revenues must be closed. This can only be done by a combination of spending cuts, new taxes and a return to growth. As regards tax, the choice is between tax on work or other tax streams. The Government has made a clear choice. We want to avoid raising income tax rates so as to protect the 1.8 million jobs currently within the economy.”

Backing the household charge, he said a broader tax is right given the collapse of our public finances.

“Those who pretend that we can have the same number and quality of public services without new taxes, such as property tax, are deluding themselves and the public. In fact, without a property tax, it’s inevitable that tax on work will go up,” he warned

The well attended meeting discussed a variety of issues including the household charge, the upcoming fiscal compact treaty and the promissory notes deal.

Cllr Tom Mulhall asked the Minister if there was a need for the fiscal compact treaty. In reply the Minister the treaty is an opportunity for the Irish people to discuss their future in Europe. Minister Hayes has said that the Government was confident of its arguments on the referendum and that the campaign will be fought like a general election with public representatives knocking on doors informing people as to why they should vote Yes in the referendum. He also remarked on the progress that is being made by Minister Noonan and his officials on the promissory notes negotiations.

Deputy Charlie Flanagan updated the meeting on constituency matters. Deputy Flanagan spoke about the impact that €750 million in cuts are having in the health Budget this year. He reported that Portlaoise hospital will not be downgraded and said progress is being made on Shaen and Abbeyleix hospitals. He commented that both hospitals may well remain open but that changes are inevitable.

Dep Flanagan also addressed education issues in Laois and Offaly and said that he was working with 3 primary schools in the constituency who face losing a teacher next September. The provision of new schools in Laois and Offaly over the next 4 years was welcomed by Deputy Flanagan.

In conclusion Deputy Flanagan spoke of the plague of drink fuelled violence. He said that he has met with local Gardai on the matter and has asked the Minister for Justice to appoint a Chief Superintendent and to fill other vacancies at senior and Superintendent level to the area as a matter of urgency.