Sunday 18 March 2018

Kevin Doyle: 'Better off with SF'? Gerry's sums don't add up

The Spin Zone

Gerry Adams. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Gerry Adams. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Across two pages of the Sinn Féin manifesto is a series of case studies outlining how much money you can look forward to getting back under a SF government.

John and Áine, who live in Donegal, stand to be "better off with Sinn Féin by between €504 and €5,664 per year".

Ignoring the massive gap between those two figures, the guaranteed element of the payback is largely on the abolition of the property tax and water charges.

According to 'Gerry Adams economics', axing the property tax will save a family of four an average of €244.

However, a quick scan through Revenue returns for the tax shows that the real average paid by Donegal homeowners last year was actually just €147.

Then Sinn Féin promises that the abolition of the water charges will put another €260 back in John and Áine's pockets. But this assumes that they are using the absolutely maximum possible for a family of their size.

And despite paying for their water, the couple seem to have forgotten to claim back their €100 water conservation grant.

So in reality, it takes only a couple of minutes to realise that a more accurate starting point for their gains would be €307.

That also assumes that John isn't being prudent and investing in a pension. If he is putting 10pc of his income into a pension pot, he could lose out on as much as €800 a year under Sinn Féin.

All of a sudden, John and Áine are €493 in the red.

Of course, every political party will try to put the best scenario forward ahead of an election, but Sinn Féin has spent much of the last fortnight accusing everyone else of cooking the books.

It is clear that the abolition of water charges and the property tax is not the windfall that SF is spinning.

Under Fine Gael's plan to abolish the USC, John and Áine stand to make €1,782 - but Enda Kenny is having his own problems explaining facts and figures during this campaign.

This election is 'economy stupid' - but that is thanks to the party leaders.

Irish Independent

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