Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Committee on Budgetary Oversight

Remit, Terms of Reference and Priorities: Commission on Taxation and Welfare

Photo of Pearse DohertyPearse Doherty (Donegal, Sinn Fein)
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I welcome Professor Moloney to the committee. I am sorry I missed her opening statement, which I read earlier. Second Stage of the Finance Bill is being dealt with at the same time as this meeting and I am trying to be in a number of locations at the same time. I welcome Professor Moloney's opening statement and the commission's broad terms of reference, which are broader than those of previous commissions given the issues of welfare that come under its remit which it needs to consider.

I apologise if any of my questions have already been answered. If so, Professor Moloney can bypass them and I will read the transcript of the proceedings later. The commission has a wider remit than previous commissions. How will that remit be dealt with by the commission? The commission is to report by 1 July next year. Does it expect to meet that deadline? I am sure Professor Moloney will say it does at this stage. More importantly, will the report be just given to the Minister or will the commission publish it at that stage? The previous commission's report, which extended to 600 pages and contained much detail and analysis, was quite significant.

I have another question on the public consultation exercise and the user-friendly platform the commission has used, which I have not used but I will have a look at it. How does Professor Moloney expect the public consultation exercise will shape the priorities of the commission as it carries out its work? That brings me to my next question on the wide remit of the commission covering areas, such as the climate challenge we face, which were not under consideration when the previous commission reported. We had a different crisis in terms of housing at that time; there was possibly an oversupply then but now there is a major undersupply. The commission has to deal with issues in terms of tax expenditure, public health and the social welfare system. How does Professor Moloney define the priorities in all of that as the commission carries out its work over the coming months?