Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach

Finance Bill 2019: Committee Stage (Resumed)

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary, Independent)
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I support the amendment. Deputy Pearse Doherty has debated other amendments, but this is a punitive tax. There should be a carrot and stick rather than only a stick. That is what the impact of this carbon tax is on farmers, particularly small farmers. There is a swathe of them across the west, and indeed in my county, and they are struggling. That is the reason we saw so many of them on the picket line at the meat plants, for all the good it did them, which was none.

They will be charged this tax but will be unable to claim it back because it is only a gimmick. They will not have sufficient tax liability. Some account should be taken of their incomes having fallen to such a low level and the fact that they are diminishing herd numbers because larger herds are not viable. I do not know where they will go. We must bring the people with us on all kinds of initiatives and change. Climate change is a significant issue and people in rural areas feel that they are being punished compared with those in cities, where there is public transport and other services. In rural Ireland, people have nothing. It has reached the stage that the people of rural Ireland are appealing to the Government, which is giving them nothing across a wide suite of areas, to leave them alone and not put forward gimmicks such as them being able to claim back this allowance on green diesel. They will not be able to do so because their taxable income will not be sufficient. As such, they will pay it upfront. I wholeheartedly support the amendment.