Thursday, 7 February 2019
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
The Government should not tax our health. People are sick to death of additional taxes appearing at every opportunity. The latest attack on consumers is the increase in VAT on food supplements which is proposed to come in soon.
The majority of products in Ireland affected by the 23% VAT rate are supplied by Irish companies which work closely with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland to ensure their products' safety and compliance with regulations. They employ hundreds of Irish people.
The Taoiseach questioned the science behind food supplements. All claims made for such products are governed by the European Food Safety Authority. The claims relate to the support and maintenance of health. The rulings are based on international large-scale clinical trials and peer supported research. When I questioned him in the Dáil recently, the Taoiseach was not sure whether folic acid was a food supplement, but he will find out soon enough on 1 March when the Government applies the 23% VAT rate to it, affecting women who are trying to look after their health during pregnancy. It is the same Taoiseach who told people a couple of weeks ago that he was going to reduce his carbon footprint by decreasing his meat intake, one of the most idiotic statements ever made by a Taoiseach. For a Taoiseach to send the message that he will stop eating meat to a farming country that is proud of its tradition of farming and in which people survived with nothing for years was so stupid and beyond belief. He was encouraging people to adopt a healthy lifestyle, while at the same time agreeing to a 23% VAT rate on food supplements.