Tuesday 24 January 2017

Self-employed should get more from the State

Published 24/10/2016 | 02:30

Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar. Photo: Douglas O'Connor
Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar. Photo: Douglas O'Connor

For far too long, the self-employed have been treated abominably by the tax and welfare systems in this country. They have paid more tax and have also been obliged to pay PRSI, which delivered few benefits.

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Yet there are 350,000 self-employed people in this country scattered across all trades and professions, doing everything from driving taxis to farming and running small businesses.

Today in this newspaper, Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar writes with empathy about this unsung section of Ireland's economy. Borrowing from his own experience, growing up "over the shop" as his doctor father and nurse mother ran their own small practice in west Dublin, Mr Varadkar rightly salutes the self-employed for their hard work, courage, enterprise and self-reliance.

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