TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore has said he wants to cut the tax rate for working families during the lifetime of this Government. Mr Gilmore said: "I think as the finances of the country improve, I would like to lift the burden of taxation somewhat on working families this term if that is possible."
Responding to Mr Gilmore, speaking in Japan Taoiseach Enda Kenny said getting the public finances in order was the first priority. "In the sense of growing the economy, you've got to fix your public finances first of all, you've got to pull the shutters up behind us when we exit on December 15 and never go back to that culture that brought us over the edge. Obviously, as each year passes, Government will reflect on the next best thing to do in the Budget for 2015," he said.
MULLIGAN WINS VOTE
THE Labour leadership has received a boost after a SIPTU official was voted in as the new Labour chairperson. Councillor Loraine Mulligan was seen as the choice of the party hierarchy, while the rival candidate, former general secretary Ray Kavanagh, was seen as the "anti-leadership" choice and as having the potential to cause more problems for Mr Gilmore.
Ms Mulligan had strong support from SIPTU members of Labour, given her role as a research officer with the Liberty Hall-based union. She also had the support of Labour Women and was seen to have performed well. She was previously vice-chair of Labour but took over as chair last June after the resignation of rebel Labour chairman Colm Keaveney.
PARTY IS IN THE PINK
The eternally cash-strapped Labour Party is in the fiscal pink for once, but this is primarily thanks to the taxpayers rather than its own supporters or the trade unions. Audited accounts for 2012 show the party had a surplus of €1.518m of income over expenditure.
When it came to its income of €3,741,946 in 2012, significantly, €3,077,050 came via the Party Leader Allowance and monies for TDs and senators provided under the Electoral Act 1997. The party's entrepreneurial abilities will be laid open to question by the revelation that Labour's own fundraising only raised a humble €11,589. There is scant reason to worry because, thanks mostly to the taxpayer, the party has an overall pre-election fighting fund of €3,148,337.