Dáil debates

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions

 

12:02 pm

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)

The popular thing to do is to defer because then one will not create any waves but it is not right thing to do for the future of the planet and its people. We need to protect people from rising energy prices and the carbon tax will help us to develop, for example, a really comprehensive retrofitting programme, which is ultimately the best way to reduce energy costs. A lot is happening in terms of retrofitting homes but we will have to do an awful lot more in the future in that regard.

On the VAT issue, as I said yesterday, Deputy McDonald keeps coming up with solutions that do not match what is possible but which sound good and would be popular. She came up with the idea of a zero VAT rate a couple of weeks ago but that simply cannot be done. Ireland is one of only a few EU countries that, by way of a special derogation from the general EU rules, already applies a reduced rate of VAT of 13.5% to energy prices. Under EU rules, reduced rates of VAT must be between 5% and 15% so the zero rate proposed by Deputy McDonald is not possible. Deputy McDonald keeps saying it but I am informed and advised that it is not possible.

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