Sunday 4 December 2016

Policies that FG ignored revealed by Lee

Ex-TD says ditch euro, slash corporation tax

DANIEL McCONNELL Chief Reporter

Published 14/02/2010 | 05:00

FORMER TD George Lee has said Ireland should leave the euro and slash corporation tax to save the economy.

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Here, for the first time, are his policies, which Fine Gael didn't want to know about.

• Mr Lee said the Government plan to reduce debt by 2014 would crucify the economy, and we should ignore our deficit in the short term.

• We should take the fight to Europe and claw back our economic-control instruments -- which include our own currency, the deficit, the ability to print our own money and setting our own interest rates.

• We should cut corporation tax to raise more money.

• We should introduce a stimulus package to help create jobs.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, Mr Lee said: "If Europe is not prepared to help us, we should cut the corporation tax rate even further and take in as much money as we want, and if it is a problem for Europe then so be it. Why should we help them out when they are not going to help us out. We are doing all this because we decided we should cut to increase competitiveness and Europe tells us to do this too.

"It's a load of baloney. The reality is that 4,000 jobs out of 700,000 in a decade were export-led jobs. Our problem is a jobs problem and we need investment," he said.

Mr Lee also slated Fine Gael's performance on the issue of the economy, saying the party -- but in particular Richard Bruton and Enda Kenny -- were afraid and didn't have the confidence to challenge the status quo when it came to taking measures to help revive the economy.

"They are afraid to be different. Do they have any confidence to offer a real alternative? Do they even know what is going on. Looking back to the 2007 election, they got it wrong?

"And they are sitting there with the same advisors telling them they're going to get it right, and anyone with a different idea gets shut out. We have a consensus economy; nobody has rocked the boat and look where we are. They lack confidence. All they can do is make it personal."

Mr Lee also launched a blistering attack on the Fine Gael front bench for making deeply hurtful and distressing personal jibes, saying he resigned over "family problems".

Speaking to the Sunday Independent on a range of issues, Mr Lee denied he made contact with his former RTE boss Ed Mulhall before he announced his resignation. He also said Richard Bruton and Fine Gael were "too afraid" to offer any real alternative policies.

"I don't want to get personal, but what bothers me is that they made it personal and that doesn't serve them well. One of them went as far as saying I had family problems. I mean, how personal can you get? It's the complete opposite of the truth. I guarantee that. But the wave of personal jibes that came all week was awful," he said yesterday.

Mr Lee admitted the week since his resignation had taken its toll on him and his family. He said: "Obviously it has been very difficult for Mary, Alison and Harry and particularly, (my wife) Mary because she has no control. It's okay. I'm out here in the frontline, she's not.

analysis AND poll RESULTS, pages 26, 28, 29, 31, 32, 33, 40

"It's like being in a car, somebody is driving it and you're thinking 'He should slow down'. When you have no control it's much more stressful, so it's much more stressful for her."

He also said it has been a very stressful week for his two children, Alison, 21, who is a student at the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), and Harry, aged 13. "It has been very tough on the kids too. They have been and are trying to figure it all out in their own way, but it is difficult to explain it all to them. Next week, there will be a major crash when this all stops, the adrenalin will stop."

He said he was disgusted at the outrageous and shameful amounts that some people in Leinster House claimed in expenses. He also accused some TDs of claiming for trips they never went on.

"I have seen the scandal with expenses. The huge amounts some people are claiming. They are claiming for trips they haven't been doing, overnights they haven't taken, all of that stuff, and you can see how obscene some of the numbers were," he said.

Mr Lee also denied he had made contact with RTE's news chief Ed Mulhall before he announced his resignation, but refused to deny he has been approached by rival broadcaster TV3. There was also speculation yesterday that the Newstalk radio station is interested in signing up Mr Lee as a presenter.

RTE confirmed to the Sunday Independent that there had been no contact from Mr Lee in advance of his letter to Mr Mulhall, informing him of his intention to return to RTE on May 5.

Sunday Independent

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