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Saturday 24 March 2018

Noonan: I want two more years as minister

Michael Noonan is set to play a central role in the General Election
Michael Noonan is set to play a central role in the General Election

Fionnán Sheahan

Michael Noonan says he wants to spend another two years as Finance Minister, signalling he won't be taking a back seat if Fine Gael are returned to power.

In an exclusive interview with the Irish Independent, Mr Noonan says he will also be freezing the property tax in the Budget by pushing out the next valuation period for three years.

And he says he will announce that Nama will build 20,000 homes over the next five years to respond to the housing crisis in a property model that is "probably irretrievably damaged".

The 72-year-old TD will play a central role in the General Election.

And the veteran Fine Gael TD sent a message to any young pretenders who might have an eye on his powerful ministerial post.

"What I would like to do is finish what we started, four budgets ago, five budgets... it's been a very successful recovery," he said.

"I would like to have it at a point where, in the opinion at home and abroad, it was irreversible. And I think that will take another two years or so.

"So what I would to do is run again, be back in government, Fine Gael and Labour, and Brendan Howlin and myself back in here managing the thing, at least for the first half of the next adminstration."

Mr Noonan will also offer relief on inheritance tax, as well as focusing the tax cuts package on middle income earners.

On October 13, he will announce that Nama will be turned into a property developer, but won't be offering more tax breaks to builders.

"So far it's largely a Dublin problem. It's an emerging problem in Cork and Galway. It's down the road in Limerick," he says of housing supply.

Irish Independent

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