Tuesday 25 October 2016

Taoiseach under fire over 'no tax hike' claims at eurozone meeting

Micheál Martin,TD the Fianna Fail leader speaking to meet the media at Leinster House
Micheál Martin,TD the Fianna Fail leader speaking to meet the media at Leinster House

THE Taoiseach has been challenged over claims that his Government did not increase taxes in the effort to get Ireland out of the EU-ECB-IMF bailout.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said that people had been astonished by the Taoiseach's comments which were simply wrong.

The Fianna Fail politician said a total of 45 taxes had been increased to the tune of a total €3.5bn by the Fine Gael-Labour coalition since it took office in March 2011. The most notable of these included an increase in VAT to 23pc and changes to the PRSI thresholds leaving most workers with big wage cuts.

"You lose all credibility when you don't tell the truth," Mr Martin told the Taoiseach.

Mr Kenny made his comments last Thursday in Brussels before another crisis meeting of the 19 leaders from the eurozone about Greece.


"In Ireland's case, we did not increase income tax, we did not increase VAT, we did not increase PRSI, but we put up alternatives to those measures that were proposed in order to keep a pro-growth policy and make our country competitive, grow our economy and provide jobs for our people," the Taoiseach said.

In the Dail yesterday Mr Martin challenged the Taoiseach to admit he was wrong in what he said and to put the record straight.

But in response Mr Kenny rounded on the Fianna Fail leader and said when they were in government in November 2010 they had agreed all sorts of cutbacks and tax hikes with the EU-ECB-IMF troika.

Mr Kenny said his Government had reduced VAT for the tourism sector, removed hundreds of thousands of workers from USC tax, and generally cut taxes. There had been no income tax increases in the years 2012, 2013, and 2014.

The Taoiseach said he hoped compromise can be agreed with Greek government.

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