He asked Taoiseach Enda Kenny if he was availing of it. “Who among his ministerial colleagues is availing of it?” he added. “How can he justify it to people at home who fear the introduction of the Government’s property tax on their family home when 13 of his Cabinet colleagues are writing off against their income tax bill the cost of a second home in Dublin?”
Mr Doherty said the tax break or “the dual abode allowance” was exclusively for Ministers and officeholders.
Those from outside Dublin, he added, were allowed to write off €6,500 against their income tax bill if they had a second home in the capital without having to provide a single receipt. If they did not have a second home in Dublin and stayed in a hotel, they could write off against their income tax bill €3,500 for having their laundry done and without having to give a receipt.
“When the Taoiseach was in opposition and Deputy Micheál Martin and his gang were availing of this lavish tax break, he promised to abolish it,” Mr Doherty added. “Since he has taken office, far from abolishing it, we have seen the cost increase by 30 per cent to €112,000.”
Mr Kenny said Mr Doherty claimed overnight allowances to which he was entitled. “They are a multiple of what any Minister, who does not receive overnight allowances, would claim,” he added.
He said most Ministers were in Dublin four or five nights a week, depending on their schedule or duties. “The matters mentioned by the deputy are part of what the Government is considering in respect of the budget which, as he is aware, will be presented by the Minister for Finance next week,” he added.
Mr Doherty said Ministers must write to the Revenue Commissioners to ask that their income tax bill would be written down up to €6,500 in unvouched expenses. The Minister’s solicitor’s and auctioneer’s fees would be written off against tax.
“How many Ministers have availed of the €3,500 deduction for the purposes of having their laundry done because they stay in a hotel or a guesthouse?” he added.
Mr Kenny replied: “Ministers are entitled to an allowance of €6,000 which they can claim at the 41 per cent tax rate, which works out at approximately €3,500.
As a rural member, the deputy is in a position to claim approximately €30,000 or more.”
His comment came in response to the continued calls of Praveen Halappanavar, via his legal team, that the investigation into his wife’s death should be a public one and that he would not cooperate with any HSE inquiry.
Making reference to this (audio below), Reilly said:
There may come a point where, obviously, we won’t have the completeness of information without Mr Halappanavar’s input and to me that will be regrettable but I want to get the investigation to that point at least before we have any further public discourse on this.
I would appeal directly to Praveen Halappanavar, who is a decent man, to meet with the chairperson of investigation team without prejudice because it is very necessary that the truth of these circumstances be found out.
Best Image from last week Week
Actor and former Culture Ambassador Gabriel Byrne’s fresh and countercultural take on The Gathering 2013, accusing it of being a shamelessly-commercial sham aimed at fleecing Burberry-clad Yanks whilst at the same time, Ireland “didn’t a shit” about the Disapora including the plight of those Irish working illegally in Ireland. His words struck an authentic chord with some, and inspired the brilliant Japlandic who produced the best images of last week
Irony of last Week
On Thursday this week, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny was in Berlin to accept a statuette from a German media association after being named “European of the Year 2012”. The optics just look all wrong in the context of an uncertain bank debt deal, and Germany now presenting us with a new hoop to jump through where we have to demonstrate our uniqueness. But when you consider thatThursday was also the day when the utterly bust and zombified Anglo, or IBRC, paid €24m to bondholders, some or a majority of which commonly believed to have been paid to German banks. €24m will buy you a lot of kitschy statuettes. Or home help hours.
via NAMA Wine Lake.
via NAMA Wine Lake.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny donned a leprechaun outfit and shiny brogues in an effort to affect the outcome of a meeting with Angela Merkel where he outlined the desperate and pathetic state of the country which he believed had a “Fiscalholic” financing problem, “basically a disease” that was “genetic, so not really our fault, technically”.
In a move described as “Economic Trick or Treating”, Kenny approached Merkel with the hypothetical situation that if a retroactive bank bailout – or “treat” – was not forthcoming, a chronic and grinding European financial meltdown – or “trick” – would take place thanks to the jaw-droppingly large amounts of debt amassed by the state and the bone-headed repeat-performances of unwise investment and fiscal eejitry shown by the government and Irish citizens since the initial bust.
“We’re lost – we’re still all desperately buying small houses in the middle of nowhere for €400k. I see it as being like an abusive relationship, with the Irish people representing the battered wife, but also the abusive husband who – in a way – batters himself to punish himself for cheating on himself with himself – on himself but, also, TO himself WITH himself…if you get me.”
“BY himself, as well” he added.
An exciting new venture in Westmeath’s bustling Zombie District
“I just laid it all out for Angela and the Leprechun outfit really hammered my point home. I told her about our “Fiscalholic” nature and that our problems with money were down to a “disease” and that it wasn’t our fault, and to leave us off. I said that we were basically sound and just wanted to have the craic and that the weather was bad here all the time and all our kids are going to Australia and we’ll probably have another bad winter and that the roads needed mending. I told her about Mick Wallace, who doesn’t pay tax because he doesn’t want to, and nothing happens. I then told her about how it was Fianna Fáil‘s fault and the unions were at me and that the hospital consultants all laughed at me for driving an ’09 car.”
“I said that, really, if Europe wants to stay viable, she should make an effort to stem Irish emigration. We just show up and puke everywhere. That really made her think”.
Kenny did a series of forward-flips to round out his presentation to the German Chancellor who then clapped and whooped as the Taoiseach threw out chocolate Euros from a plastic “pot o’ gold” in a display of extreme irony
TAOISEACH ENDA Kenny said “an avalanche of speculation” over Ireland’s debt legacy last weekend was damaging as he confirmed the process of assistance for Ireland under the European Stability Mechanism was under way.
He said this process did not involve a second bailout programme, and reiterated the decision of June 29th to break the link between sovereign and bank debt.
Speaking at the announcement of 100 jobs at Voxpro in Cork yesterday, the Taoiseach referred to what he described as damaging speculation last weekend over comments by German chancellor Angela Merkel which appeared to rule out backdated recapitalisation’s of euro zone banks.
“There was an avalanche of comment and speculation as if this was reality last weekend. Doing down our country, in fact, when clearly at the very highest level of the European Union we have a clear understanding from our communiqué and from the press conference with the French president of what that understanding actually is. So we are now in a process of negotiation and discussion about how the assistance can be given to Ireland, not if any assistance can be given to Ireland.”
Responding to comments by a spokesman for Dr Merkel’s CDU party yesterday, who said new conditions would have to apply if the ESM was used in such a manner, Mr Kenny said that he had never “envisaged” a second bailout.
“I wouldn’t put any kind of term like that on it,” Mr Kenny said. “Part of that decision was to recognise the special circumstances that apply in Ireland’s case in that our banks have already been recapitalised at public expense.
“The joint communiqué issued by myself and the German chancellor on Sunday … clearly says that the special case that applies in Ireland will be taken into account in the negotiations and the discussions that are now the mandate of the eurogroup or the ministers for finance.”
He said the Government was pursuing the decision made on June 29th to bring it to reality.
“This is not a sort of troika bailout situation that applies now, Ireland’s banks have been recapitalised to the highest level. that’s a matter of historical record. That burden has been put on our taxpayers and that’s why we are pursuing the decision taken on June 29th to bring that to reality which will ease our position somewhat.”
Minister of Health
The pill will be available over the counter and will be marked under the brand name “Apology”.
ITGWU objects to the introduction of controversial day shift working. A protest rally will take place outside the Dáil tomorrow evening to voice disapproval of this concept.
Alcohol awareness week set for Ireland next year
Ireland will have a week dedicated to highlighting the intoxicating benefits of Jameson’s, Guinness, and Magners cider
Minister of Finance
Michael Noonan stands by his pledge to lower cost of fillet steak, caviar, and tiramisu for the middle classes. However, he did hint that all state benefits paid to the working classes would have to be slashed to facilitate this concession. Wild applause was heard from Leo Varadkar.
Enda Kenny knelt in the confessional and said, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned”.
“What is it, Enda?”
Enda said, “Father, I have committed sin. Every a day I suppress the truth from the public. The priest turned, looked at Enda, and said, I have good news. That isn’t a sin – it’s only a mistake” sure have we not being doing that ourselves for years.
The behind-the-scenes moves illustrate just how poor the working relationship is between Dr Reilly and the Labour Party.
As a result, Mr Gilmore’s advisers are talking with the various bidders and compiling their own file on where to locate the new national facility, the Irish Independent has learned.
Mr Gilmore’s desire to be informed independently of the decision-making process follows the controversy over Dr Reilly’s selection of primary care centres. “He does like to get his own information.
“Based on recent events, you can’t say it’s surprising,” a senior government source said.
The children’s hospital will be the largest capital infrastructure project agreed by the Government.
The race for the facility is neck-and-neck between St James’s Hospital and James Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown, with the Coombe in third place as an “alternative” and the original site in the Mater Hospital in fourth.
“James’s and Blanchardstown stand out, followed by the Coombe and then the Mater,” a senior government source said.
Dr Reilly has got an expert report back assessing the options for the hospital.
The Dolphin Report, named after its chairman Frank Dolphin, didn’t rank the different locations, leaving it up to Dr Reilly to make a recommendation.
The decision is due to be agreed between Taoiseach Enda Kenny, the Tanaiste and Health Minister before being brought to Cabinet for ratification.
But the trio has yet to meet, with no date scheduled for the discussion.
Despite Mr Kenny saying a fortnight ago that the decision would be taken within 10 days, there is no sign of it coming to Government.
Dr Reilly will formally take the decision to his cabinet colleagues with the endorsement of the Taoiseach and Tanaiste.
Mr Gilmore’s officials have had meetings with a number of those involved in the various bids. There has also been specific information requested from bidders.
The Troika said last night in Dublin that funds were not readily available to pursue the self-governing process in Ireland, and until the economy improves, the Government should consider postponing all referendums’ and elections. When questioned if this procedure was democratic the retort was you can’t afford it.
They added if this wasteful process continued they would consider withholding further draw down of funds.
When questioned further on the Democratic process Michael Noonan stated that really is a question for the Taoiseach but believed that the process was safe in the hands of the government.
The Taoiseach when quizzed on the matter believed that it was of the utmost importance to maintain Ireland’s credibility with the world’s financial decision-makers, and he would not stray from this route to satisfy the whims of a minority.
The Troika felt that in certain areas, there was on display extremely high levels of incompetence. One senior source claimed the Troika has been “spooked by James Reilly the Minister of Health. They believed Reilly is the boldest boy in the class. Being well-qualified masters, they believe control of the class is of the utmost importance.
They are, likewise, concerned at the worthlessness of the ministers at the core of Government and the overall perceived lack of leadership.
They stated they would support a referendum as to who should rule Ireland.
They are also willing to fund and support a new party called the Bilderberg group. They felt this group knew how to mop up what money remained and to restore Ireland to prosperity but only after a long and intense period of deprivation.
On behalf on the Irish people, The Taoiseach apologised for the gross ineptness of the government.
NEUTERING DOESN’T work on every dog. Even though the undercarriage is gone, some continue to swagger around with that cock-of-the walk attitude, confident as ever.
Just like the bankers. They may have lost their “fundamentals” but that doesn’t stop them behaving like they still have them.
Right up to the bank guarantee, these blokes were strutting up before Oireachtas committees to insist: “Our fundamentals are sound.”
And we remember how people who are now in Government, but were in opposition back then, stormed away from those meetings, fuming.
They knew things were bad. They knew from their constituents that lending had dried up. They knew they were being spun a yarn.
But the bankers, oozing arrogance and condescension, insisted otherwise. We own them now, unfortunately. Right down to their shrivelled fundamentals.
Not that they seem to know it.
Yesterday, the bankers were under scrutiny again in the Dáil after senior public servants decided to tell them some home truths about their handling of the mortgage debt crisis. (Self-serving and delusional.) The Central Bank’s Fiona Muldoon was among them. Speaking at a Banking Federation conference on Tuesday, she told the pinstriped ones to stop acting like petulant teenagers and confront the issue.
Not surprisingly, the Opposition piled in behind her. If the bankers won’t face up to the consequences of their irresponsible lending, then the Government should force them to deal with people now unable to repay the loans.
He told the Dáil that, only the other week, he informed the Dublin Chamber of Commerce dinner that the banks weren’t doing enough. Oh yes.
Furthermore, the Government has regular meetings with the bankers through the Economic Management Council. And they’d be “well advised to sit down on a bilateral basis” and negotiate.
But they haven’t done it, chorused the Opposition leaders. Can the Taoiseach not see that? Did he not hear what Fiona said? She wasn’t the only one. John Moran, secretary general of the Department of Finance, also gave the bankers an earful.
But any day now, it seems, the fat cats will heed their Government masters and engage with the mortgage debt crisis.
That’s what the Taoiseach thinks. After all, he’s had harsh words with them, more than once.
One can only imagine the state of those poor bankers as they stumble across the road from Government Buildings for a hairshirt lunch in Patrick Guilbaud’s followed by an Armagnac or three for the nerves. “The regulator is barking very loudly, Taoiseach, and you are not listening to what is being said,” said the Fianna Fáil leader, a fluent canine speaker.
Shane Ross despairs for our trusting Taoiseach. Bankers can’t even lie straight in the bed. “They are involved in a policy to extend and pretend . . . denial, delay and deceit.” “Believe you me, Deputy Ross, they have been told in plain English what the requirement is,” insisted Enda.
But they don’t take advice, sighed an exasperated Ross. “You can’t treat these bankers as normal human beings.” Ate you alive, they will. Them and their phantom fundamentals.
People Before Profit, TD, Richard Boyd Barrett, condemns the Taoiseach for “deliberately and cynically misleading the Dail” during Leaders Questions this afternoon. | United Left Alliance
In a statement this afternoon, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, condemned the Taoiseach for deliberately misleading the Dail during Leaders Questions. In response to a question about the plight of Home Help workers and those who rely on their services, the Taoiseach, rather than answering the question, repeated a false claim made by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore in the Dail last week, relating to disability cuts in the Dun Laoghaire area.
The Taoiseach was referring to Leaders Questions on 11 Oct, when Deputy Boyd Barrett raised the issue of cuts to Angels Quest Respite services with the Tánaiste. At the time, the Tánaiste misled the Dail and said that Deputy Boyd Barrett was “using” the issue of cuts to disabled people for his own political gain and claimed that he had an email in his possession written by Deputy Boyd Barrett, which confirmed this.
The Taoiseach repeated this claim again today and also said that Deputy Boyd Barrett had advised the parents of children affected by the cuts to the respite services to not meet with the Director of Services.
In fact the email referred to was written by one of the parents affected by the cuts to respite services and a member of the executive committee of the Carmona Parents and Families Friends Association. Eamon Gilmore knew this when he falsely claimed it was written by Deputy Boyd Barrett. Unless the Tánaiste also mislead the Taoiseach, the Taoiseach would also have known when he repeated the claim today that Deputy Boyd Barrett was the author of the email.
(See original email pasted below and subsequent comments by parents group on Tánaiste’s misrepresentation of the email and its authorship.)
Deputy Boyd Barrett said: “Both the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste have deliberately and cynically misled the house. They said things that were completely untrue and that they knew were untrue when they said them. In the process, they also misrepresented and trivialised the concerns of parents of the disabled children who are in Angels Quest – falsely claiming they had refused a meeting with the director of services to discuss the future of Angels Quest. Eamon Gilmore and Enda Kenny knew I had not written this email and yet they said said I had. They knew the parents had agreed to a meeting with Carmona Services but claimed they had not. This is a disgraceful abuse of their positions as the most senior politicians in the country and disgraceful abuse of the Dail itself.
However, he was unable to say when such a deal might be secured, and acknowledged a lot of work remained to be done on the nature and scale of any deal.
Despite views expressed recently by finance ministers from three countries, including Germany, that European rescue funds should not take on “legacy” banking debt, Mr Kenny insisted it will happen for Ireland.
He said the European leaders’ decision to “break the toxic link between bank debt and sovereign debt” last June could not be reneged on. “I’m very clear on this: we are going to get a deal on debt. The nature and scale of the deal is yet to be worked out, but the decision has been made.”
Mr Kenny was speaking at an event in Cleveland, Ohio, as part of a two-day visit to the US aimed at enhancing business and tourism links between the two countries.