Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Public Accounts Committee

2020 Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General and Appropriation Accounts
Vote 9 - Revenue Commissioners
Chapter 12 - Controls over the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme
Chapter 13 - Revenue's Management of Suspicious Transactions Reports

9:30 am

Photo of James O'ConnorJames O'Connor (Cork East, Fianna Fail)
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I reiterate there is a broad recognition within the Oireachtas that the work done in Revenue by its employees has, in general, been very good. We have all dealt with businesses that have suffered a great deal because of the pandemic and that have suffered difficulties with Revenue, but I recognise the efforts of the witnesses and, more particularly, those of the workers within the organisation because it has been extraordinarily difficult for many people working for the State to have to divvy out these supports. The focus of my question related to larger firms that employ, for example, more than 500 people, which may have had major cash reserves, versus smaller businesses that did need increased support.

Would we want to be careful to ensure that the money goes where it needs to go, rather than giving it out just based on a percentage at the time?

My next question is about the temporary wage subsidy scheme and the employment wage subsidy scheme. Mr. Cody is aware that these created difficulties for those who were seeking mortgage approval and seeking to purchase homes. What steps has Revenue taken to bring further clarity to that area? That could include providing transparency to employees that employers were using this scheme to pay their wages and providing clarifications that are needed for the purposes of lending. It has, unfortunately, impacted thousands of people in the Republic of Ireland. As a Member of the Oireachtas, I think the banks have behaved in a disgraceful fashion. What steps is Revenue taking to clarify this area?