Wednesday 20 November 2019

Kenny will have to dig in hard to keep tax rate

Among the many unique features of the 31st Dail is that Taoiseach Enda Kenny faces three formidable leaders of the opposition -- five if you count the rotating persona for the Technical Group.

The signs from yesterday's Leaders' Questions were that Mr Kenny will be able to acquit himself well -- at least until the first serious banana skin arrives in his path. Then we shall be able to make a firmer judgment on this most surprising of politicians.

One worry is that Mr Kenny may be peeling some of those bananas himself. He needs to employ some more subtle political language to prepare an exit path on the issues of corporation tax and bank funding.

If it digs in, the Government may be able to maintain Ireland's 12.5pc tax rate. But as the comments from Austria's finance minister indicated yesterday, it may not be able to beat off the changes to the tax system being floated by the EU Commission today.

Likewise, the triumvirate on the other benches will have a field day if, as seems inevitable, more public capital is put into the banks, despite the pledges. Honesty in politics is not about plain speaking and blunt talk. It is about not making promises you can't keep, and keeping the ones that you can.

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