Tuesday 17 September 2019

FG pledge on taxes will be ditched after vote, says Martin

Issues: Micheál Martin said Fianna Fáil is ready to fight an election. Picture: Gerry Mooney
Issues: Micheál Martin said Fianna Fáil is ready to fight an election. Picture: Gerry Mooney
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's promise for five years of tax cuts will be "abandoned within minutes of the election posters coming down", Fianna Fáil has said.

The party's leader Micheál Martin last night took aim at the minority Government, saying it has promised a lot but not delivered.

In particular, he said tax cuts announced at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis are "not prudent" and "not responsible".

He was speaking at a Cork Chamber of Commerce event just hours after saying on radio that his party is election-ready.

While Mr Martin renewed his offer not to do anything to spark an election during this period of uncertainty over Brexit, he insisted Fianna Fáil is prepared to fight one.

Last night he described the confidence and supply arrangement entered into in 2016 as "a first for Ireland".

"The stability which we have provided has been essential to underpinning a period of growth nationally.

"There are real issues about how the arrangement has worked and we are very dissatisfied with how Government has failed to competently manage vital areas like health and housing. However I have no doubt that our decision was the right one," Mr Martin said.

He indicated that Fianna Fáil will look to have some form of tax reduction after an election because he "absolutely" believes that "people need a break - and that one part of this is tax relief".

But he said any changes must "consider all elements of the tax system rather than cherry picking a targeted sound bite of a cut".

"I don't think that a five-year promise on tax is either sustainable or responsible and I for one am determined that we will not see a destructive escalation in this field."

An opinion poll published last weekend showed Fianna Fail's support had increased by two points to 27pc. However, support for Fine Gael increased by 1pc to 34pc in the same poll. It put support for Sinn Féin at 13pc, the Labour Party up one point to 6pc, and the Independent Alliance is also up one to 5pc.

Irish Independent

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