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A whiff of 'fairytale economics' about promises

SINN Fein leader Gerry Adams has made populist promises worth €1bn to scrap the property tax and water charges.

Just like Labour's pledges to protect child benefit and halt increases in third-level fees, it sounds great in theory.

But where is Sinn Fein going to get the money to replace €500m due annually from the property tax and the estimated €500m due from water charges? Its great white hope is a wealth tax of 1pc on amounts over €1m – which is due to bring in €800m.

But even the party's own documentation admits that this is based on a seven-year-old Bank of Ireland 'Wealth of the Nation' report at the peak of the boom.

It has a whiff of what Labour TD Ged Nash yesterday described as "Gerry Adams' fairytale economics".

But Labour is still aware that Sinn Fein poses a threat to its voting base. So Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte cleared his throat and uttered one of his famous put-downs about Mr Adams' successful medical procedure last year being paid for.

"We wouldn't need any health workers at all if we all had a rich tycoon in the United States who would pay to transport us to the United States and get the benefits of private medicine," he said.

It was Sinn Fein's US support group which paid for the flights while businessman Bill Flynn paid for the treatment.

Mr Adams has been in charge for 30 years and is going to remain for at least three more with his pledge to lead Sinn Fein into the 2016 general election.

It has always been a dream for Sinn Fein to be in power North and South – and imagine the temptation for Mr Adams to go into government in 2016 on the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising?

It may never happen – but if there is even half a chance, trifling matters such as breaking a promise to scrap the property tax are unlikely to get in the way.

Irish Independent