Alliance ministers split over Budget demands
The Independent Alliance is split after Office of Public Works Minister Kevin 'Boxer' Moran distanced himself from a leaked document outlining its Budget demands.
Mr Moran said putting demands on Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe is "wrong" after the Irish Independent revealed that the Alliance is seeking a new levy on cuckoo funds, and a range of measures focusing on the 'grey vote' including cuts in inheritance tax, changes to Fair Deal, a bereavement grant and unpaid leave for workers to look after elderly parents in this year's Budget.
The emergence of the draft discussion document has caused a split in the Alliance with officials close to Cabinet ministers Finian McGrath and Shane Ross blaming each other for it being leaked to this newspaper. One Alliance member said privately that much of what is in the document will not be delivered in the Budget with some of the proposals repackaged from previous Budget submissions.
Another Alliance source said, however, the cuckoo fund proposal - to hit the block purchase of new homes with a 10pc levy - was on the table given the public disquiet over the issue.
But speaking at the reopening of the Casino, an OPW attraction in Marino, north Dublin, yesterday, Mr Moran distanced himself from the document.
"There [are] no demands. This is our fourth budget and I have never put a demand on the table. I have worked closely with the Minister for Finance and my colleagues and I will continue to do that.
"We all know the looming issue out there is Brexit and we all have to work together," he said. "People come first in relation to this. We have to do what's right for the people of Ireland and putting demands on the Minister for Finance is wrong."