Seanad debates

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

3:30 pm

Photo of Michael D'ArcyMichael D'Arcy (Wexford, Fine Gael)

I am trying to give people the actual figures. The increase in the carbon tax will amount to an extra €1 for a tank of petrol of 60 l or more and an extra €1.20 for a larger 70 l tank of diesel. The price of a 40 kg bag of coal will rise by 72 cent. Again, if others in the future want to increase or decrease the tax, that will be a matter for future budgets.

Senator Mulherin referred to the OPW and Crossmolina. I am not aware of the flood works in the area. She referred to a hospice. The help-to-buy scheme is a good thing overall. I support it.

Senator Dolan referred to disability, which I would love to do more about. Again, given the year that is in it, the funding is probably just not available. I have been very strong on diversity within my sector, the financial services sector. The diversity is not just gender diversity. I have said I will deal with State committees and Government committees in this regard. There will be a 50:50 gender balance. I have pushed companies in the financial services sector in this regard. One sees companies all around Dublin with lovely, shiny buildings that are superbly accessible but nobody, or very few people, with a disability works there. The desired image is to be the perfect company with the perfect workforce. These companies spend a fortune on accessibility but I do not see people with disabilities working in their shiny glass and steel buildings. I have said this very openly and bluntly to representatives of the companies when I have met them. We should be better in this area. Outside of what Government does, and I touched on this earlier, people cannot purchase the dignity of work. The benefit of work is for people and is in contrast to the indignity of not working.

To respond to Senator Gavan, I have touched on the ring-fencing of the carbon tax and working people. It is the working middle that is more squeezed in Ireland than any other sector. They have rent and mortgages to pay. Two people working and earning €50,000 each per year, a garda and a nurse, to give the classic example that used always to be given, earn €100,000. They are not wealthy, but they are by Sinn Féin standards.

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