Thursday, 22 March 2012
Finance Bill 2012 (Certified Money Bill): Committee and Remaining Stages
Trevor Ó Clochartaigh (Sinn Fein)
Go raibh maith agat a Leas-Chathaoirligh agus go raibh maith ag an Aire, ach is le díomá atá mé ag éisteacht leis an bhfreagra a thug sé. Tá cupla pointe gur mhaith liom a dhéanamh maidir leis an gcuid seo den mBille. Ar dtús, tá sé ag bualadh na daoine is boichte inár sochaí, iad atá buailte cheana féin. Chomh maith leis sin, is cáin breise í ar mhuintir na tuaithe, na daoine atá ag brath ar thaisteal. Cuireann sé iontas orm go bhfuil an Rialtas ag brú ar aghaidh leis seo mar le cupla lá sa tSeanad anseo bhí baill dá pháirtí féin, agus páirtithe an Rialtais, ag rá go raibh géar ghá le hath-bhreithniú a dhéanamh ar an mír seo a bhaineann leis an mBille mar gheall ar an ngéarchéim atá againn ó thaobh chúrsaí trádála de.
A number of issues arise in this regard, the first of which is that this section will be extra punitive on those already on low incomes who depend on their cars to get around. It is also a measure that is very much against rural communities because they are much more dependent on transport.
It is interesting to note that many members of the Government parties in the House have raised the issue of the cost of petrol and diesel in recent days and spoke about how much of an issue it is to trade in the country. We are shooting ourselves in the foot in this regard. There was a report in the media last night on fuel tourism which looked at the Irish Road Haulage Association and it appears that when many drivers travel abroad to Belgium or elsewhere on the Continent they fill up the 4,000 litre tanks in their trucks and go on to do their business. They are not buying their fuel in Ireland and therefore we are sending quite a few members of the Irish Road Haulage Association abroad to buy their fuel. That is lost revenue for the Government.
It was mentioned this morning, and the Minister might be able to confirm this figure, that taxes make up 80% of the cost of petrol and diesel. The cost of petrol and diesel has gone up from approximately €1.10 to €1.64 a litre in recent days. That is stymying any kind of growth in the economy. It is certainly hitting people in rural areas and anybody whose business is in transport. The man from the Irish Road Haulage Association said that 1,000 people from his organisation have gone out of business in recent months.
The Government says it is pro-economics, that it wants to grow the economy and help small business but this measure flies in the face of that. I ask the Minister to reconsider it.
Cé go bhfuil gá an cháin a thabhairt isteach ar thaobh amháin, ar bhealaí eile tá an Rialtas ag scaoileadh na cánach anonn go dtí an mór roinn agus thar teorainn suas. Ba chóir ath-bhreithniú a dhéanamh air seo mar beidh an Stát thíos leis i ndeireach an lae.