Dáil debates

Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Financial Resolutions 2022 - Financial Resolution No. 6: General: Financial Resolution (Resumed)


5:55 pm

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry, Independent) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Ministers and the Ministers of State for attending this debate. On behalf of the people of Kerry, I have a very important message for them about what happened today. While we discuss the budget and while people are particularly concerned about business, everyone in Kerry who has a business, be it big or small, got a revised rate demand today. I will give some examples of the changes in their rates. A business owner whose rate was €26,000 per year has had it increased to €68,000. Another person's rate has increased from €3,000 to €16,500 per year. These businesses include jewellers' shops, bakeries, ordinary shops, hair salons and tyre centres that are facing increases of 200%, 300% or more. This comes at a time when we are talking about protecting small businesses and are trying to encourage them to stay in operation.

The Ministers and Ministers and State know that changes to these rateable valuations were deferred due to the pandemic. I tabled parliamentary questions on this issue in advance because I expected it to come. Surely the Government should have seen fit to have stopped this and that this was not the time to go ahead. It was not the time to re-rate businesses. It is totally insane and will put people out of business. All I can tell the Ministers and Ministers of State is that my phone was on fire today with people telling me their stories about trying to figure out how they will survive. That is an issue that needs to be debated by the House in full. Since it is so fresh, and they are the Ministers representing the Government, I want to place on the record of the Dáil that ratepayers in County Kerry, be it north, east, south, west or mid-Kerry, are suffering and are worried tonight because of the bills they got in the post today informing them their businesses were being re-rated.

Budget 2023 is so fragile that a senior economist at the Department of Finance warned at a press conference yesterday that a cold snap across Europe this winter would have a significantly negative impact on Ireland's economic outlook because the country is on the brink of a recession. The budget did nothing to avoid a recession or steer the country into a better place by developing a roadmap for energy self-reliance, which would provide cheaper energy prices. The Government's budgetary strategy, like its energy strategy, is devised on the basis of hope. That hope revolves around hoping a cold snap across Europe this winter will be avoided and that the wind will blow at home in order that wind energy can be produced, even though it only has the potential to provide up to 30% of electricity supplies. Yes, budget 2023 involves spending and tax measures amounting to €11 billion. However, despite this record level of spending, the true factual reality is that most people will still end up worse off when inflation and cost-of-living increases are factored in.

I could go on for a long time about the budget. I ask the Government to please look at the rates situation as well because that will have to be stopped, if businesses are to survive.


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