Sunday 11 December 2016

Party Policy snapshots day 6

Published 09/02/2016 | 02:30

Catherine Martin and Tom Kivlehan, both of the Green Party, outside the Four Courts yesterday. Photo: Collins
Catherine Martin and Tom Kivlehan, both of the Green Party, outside the Four Courts yesterday. Photo: Collins
Lucinda Creighton. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Green Party: The High Court will rule on Thursday over whether the Green Party should be represented on a live leaders debate to be aired on RTÉ next week.

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The Green Party lodged a court action against the national broadcaster when their leader Eamon Ryan was told he would be excluded from leaders' debate due to take place next Monday.

At a preliminary hearing in the High Court, Justice Seamus Noonan set this coming Thursday as the date for a full judicial review of the legal challenge against RTÉ's decision to exclude Mr Ryan.

RTÉ is currently proposing a debate including seven party leaders.

Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin welcomed the court's decision.

"This court challenge is not so much about the Green Party as it is about democracy; it is about an inclusive and modern Ireland," Ms Martin said.

"Unfortunately, RTÉ's overly rigid and non-negotiable approach to this is in stark contrast to the fair and democratic way that smaller parties were treated in the general election held in the UK last year and also the inclusive and modern approach adopted by TV networks in the USA during the course of the US primary elections.

"RTÉ's approach is not in keeping with a modern inclusive Ireland."

Renua Ireland

Renua Ireland leader Lucinda Creighton has pledged a total clear-out of a host of taxes which would be replaced by a 23pc flat tax.

Ms Creighton said that the radical overhaul of the tax system would lead to the abolition of 17 taxes in all.

"You don't have to be an economist to know working people are paying too many taxes. Such is the range of taxes they face, working people do not know how much tax they will pay from month to month," Ms Creighton said. "Worse still, they do not know when they will also be hit by water charges, by property tax, the TV licence or motor tax. The Irish tax system is too complex."

Ms Creighton said an Irish person on the average industrial wage was liable for 17 different taxes.

And she then listed the taxes which would be removed.

  • Abolish the three employer rates of PRSI
  • Abolish the two different employee rates of PRSI
  • Abolish the two different rates of income tax
  • Abolish the differential self-employed tax rates
  • Abolish motor tax and the TV licence
  • Abolish special tax breaks for the wealthy
  • Abolish the army of tax advisers, administrators and accountants who garnish your income so you can fulfil all the tax rules.

Renua also argues the change would end politicians indulging in Budget giveaways by tinkering at the edges of a chaotic system to buy votes from selected taxpayers with other taxpayers' money.

"We want to put the egregious USC tax into the austerity museum. Unlike Fine Gael, however, this will occur as part of plans for national growth rather than an election stunt," Ms Creighton said.

Sinn Fein

Sinn Féin's finance spokesman Pearse Doherty committed to abolishing the local property tax (LPT) within a matter of weeks if his party is elected into government.

The property tax led to huge public protests when first introduced but there is a high compliance rate with the tax as the payment is taken from salaries at source by the Revenue Commissioner.

While unveiling the policy, Mr Doherty denied Sinn Féin treated voters in the South differently to those in the North where people are required to pay property tax.

The Donegal TD insisted those who pay property tax in Northern Ireland get more for their money, including health and dental benefits.

He defended the difference between Sinn Féin's policy North and South of the Border by saying his party did not have the power to increase or decrease taxes in the Northern Assembly as the responsibility for these decisions lies with the British government in Westminster.

He said abolishing the property tax for Irish voters would save 1.8 million people €244 a year - it would cost the Exchequer €440m.

Right2Change

Right2Change, which groups 96 left-wing election candidates, has pledged to hold a huge anti-water charges rally in Dublin on Saturday week, February 20.

The group's spokesman Brendan Ogle, of the Unite trade union, said water charges were a big election issue and the charges remained deeply unjust.

"Irish householders use 10pc of the water and waste water services. But they are expected to carry 78pc of the cost and subsidise big business and agriculture," Mr Ogle told reporters at the launch of the Right2Change election campaign in Dublin.

He said the grouping was a platform uniting a range of leftist candidates who were giving voice to a rapidly changing Irish political situation. The launch was also attended by Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald, as her party is aligned to the group. John Douglas, who heads the Mandate trade union, was also present.

Mr Ogle said that a survey last week for Ipsos/MRBI showed that two-thirds of voters wanted a change of government. He said the only people who wanted the status quo were people on high salaries.

The grouping's slogan is "Another Ireland is possible" and former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis will contribute to a conference by video link on Saturday in Dublin.

Irish Independent

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