Budget 2013 Main Points
Draw your own conclusions but the cumulative effect will be savage for the average family.
Child benefit cut by €10 per month
Unvouched expenses for TDs abolished
Third-level fees to rise by €250 per year
DIRT increases by 3% to 33%
Expenditure adjustments to toal €2.25bn
Motor tax to rise from January 1st
Excise duty on tobacco to rise
€1 duty increase on 75cl bottle of wine
10 cent rise on spirits, beer and cider
No increase on petrol/diesel
Carbon tax extended to solid fuels
Corporation tax remains unchanged at 12.5%
Homes bought in 2013 exempt from property tax
Property tax based on market value introduced
Property tax will be collected by the Revenue
Capital Acquisitions Tax threshold falls by 10 per cent.
Increase in USC for over 70s with incomes of €60,000+
Film tax relief extended to 2020
Tourism industry’s 9% VAT rate to remain in 2013
Stock relief for farmers extended
CRO to publish guidance for SMEs on credit
CRO to extend team of reviewers
Diesel rebate for hauliers from July 1st
R&D tax credits amended to encourage innovation
Tax reform plan to support SMEs
Noonan confident Ireland will return to markets
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan begins speech
Several TDs have attempted to raise the issue of penalty points being removed from people’s licences in the Dáil.
Mick Wallace, Clare Daly, Joan Collins and Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan all sought to speak about the matter but were prevented from doing so by the Leas Ceann Comhairle who said that Minister’s Questions was not the forum in which to raise the issue.
Justice Heather Perrin.
Tricked a dying man into bequeathing half his estate to her two children
The first judge in the history of the State to be convicted of a serious crime.
national / gender and sexuality Wednesday November 14, 2012 – 23:57 by Elric
Lobby your TDs on the immediate need for legislation to give effect to the X case
Take action and ask your TD to make legislation for the X Case a priority for the government. Your action will make a difference to ensure that we do not have to wait another 20 years for legislation to implement the constitutional right to an abortion in cases where the life of the mother is at risk. TDs need to hear from the 79% of the population who believe abortion should be available in certain circumstances. Thank you for your support!
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Complaints had been lodged after an investigation by the Irish Examiner discovered that he was the part-owner of land in Wigan which, at the time, was not listed as part of his declaration of interests.
Last Tuesday, however, Lowry added the land – which he maintained was still of “negligible value” – to his Register of Dáil Interests in response to “wildly inaccurate speculation regarding its value.”
A decision on whether the near-300 complaints will be referred to the Members’ Interests Committee of Dáil Éireann is pending legal advice, however.
Responding to TheJournal.ie, the spokesperson said:
Following further consideration the Clerk of the Dáil is seeking legal advice on the matter. Accordingly the Clerk of the Dáil is not in a position to make a decision at this stage as to whether the complaints should be referred to the Committee on Members’ Interests . He expects to be in such a position shortly.
Reasons for complaints not being forwarded would be if the Clerk determined them to be “frivolous or vexatious or that there is ‘not sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case in relation to the complaint’.”
In cases where the complaint is rejected for the reasons outlined above, “the Clerk is obliged to send the complainant, the member concerned and the Committee a statement of the reasons for so doing.”
The gravy train Breakdown
Unvouched expenses must be open to all sorts of abuse in short a laugh.
TD salary: €92,672.
• Allowances for renting offices: €15,000 unvouched; €25,700 vouched.
• Secretarial assistant plus additional secretarial allowance: €41,092 vouched; or €8,888.17 unvouched plus an annual allowance of €11,591 vouched.
• Leinster House provides free telephone and postal facilities, including 1,250 prepaid envelopes a month.
• €750 every 18 months to buy a mobile phone and car kit, including installation costs and insurance.
• €8,000 one-off grant to set up an office outside Leinster House.
Earlier this month, Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett found that his party colleague had failed to answer a question from Sinn Féin health spokesman Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin about the criteria he used to identify 35 priority locations for the centres announced last July.
Last week, Mr Barrett ruled that Dr Reilly had again failed to answer a question, this time from Labour backbencher Robert Dowds.
Mr Dowds had asked why a proposed primary care centre at Rowlagh in his constituency, which was originally slated to be funded under the Government’s capital programme, was now to be developed by public-private partnership.
This followed the revelation in September that Dr Reilly had added 15 locations, including two in his own constituency, to a list of priority locations for such centres.
After the Minister referred his inquiry to the Health Service Executive, Mr Dowds queried his compliance with Dáil standing orders in a letter to the Ceann Comhairle. Mr Barrett found that the Labour TD’s request for information had not been addressed, and sought a response from Dr Reilly.
The Minister replied that it was unfortunate that the detailed information sought by Mr Dowds was not furnished by his department at the time.
He said the department was not in a position to do so based on the information on its files alone and it had therefore referred the matter to the HSE for an answer.
He went on to say that Rowlagh was never included in a capital plans and was not included on the 2012 capital plan submitted to the department.
The delivery method for a potential primary care centre in Rowlagh changed in lists reported in the media and published by the department as part of the Government’s stimulus package announced last July, he said. This change occurred on the advice of the HSE’s head of estates as a public-private partnership was considered the fastest way to make progress.
According to the Ceann Comhairle, Standing Order 40A of the Dáil does not require ministers to provide information requested by a TD. It does, however, require that each and every request for information be addressed in the minister’s reply.
In response to questions from other TDs on the same issue, Dr Reilly said the consideration of projects for inclusion in the capital programme was “an evolving process”. Details of the next programme will be published
Minister of State for Health Alex White to Introduce Proposals Next Year to Legalise Cannabis Based Medicine.
In a written Dáil response issued to Mr Flanagan, Minister of State for Health Alex White said he hoped to bring legislative proposals early next year to make cannabis-based medicinal products available on prescription.
Mr Flanagan said, “This should not be taking as long as it is. The Government should hurry up on this as there are people going through hell out there being not able to get the proper pain relief.”
Independent TD Luke “Ming” Flanagan, has campaigned for many years for medicinal cannabis to be available on prescription for cancer and multiple sclerosis sufferers, and others suffering from ill-health,
Laughing all the way to the bank
TWENTY-SIX former politicians who are earning pensions of more than €100,000 a year are escaping a super tax because of a legal loophole.
Former Fianna Fail ministers Charlie McCreevy, Dermot Ahern, Noel Dempsey, John O’Donoghue, Joe Walsh, Michael Woods and Martin Cullen — and former Progressive Democrats leader Mary Harney — are among those not having to pay the 20pc tax.
Another is former Fianna Fail minister Ray Burke, who was convicted of tax evasion.
The loophole arises because the higher rate applies only if a single pension is worth more than €100,000 but not if the politician is getting a number of pensions with a combined value above that level.
“It’s obviously unfair otherwise on the people who are paying it. The impression was given last year that it would be all office holders,” she said.
Ms Tuffy said she was in favour of a higher income tax on people earning over €100,000 in the forthcoming Budget rather than singling out former ministers again for heavier taxes.
Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin has introduced an amendment to close the loophole by the end of the year.
It will allow the pension levy to be applied to all the combined pensions of a former office holder. A department spokeswoman said that all public bodies would be requested to supply the PPS numbers and pension payments of those with multiple pensions.
She said the department would then calculate the new higher pension levy and apply it.
Mr Howlin has said that the estimated savings for the new rate already was €400,000 per year — when the impact on retired judges, former semi-state chief executives and former secretaries-general is taken into account.
Mr Ahern and Mr Cowen are paying a total pension levy of around €11,000 each on their TDs‘ and ministerial pensions, leaving them with pensions of €111,235 each. But if their TDs’ pensions and ministers pensions were combined together, their pension levy bill would rise by up to €7,000 extra.
This is because they will only be able to claim one exemption from the public sector pension levy — rather than the present arrangement of one for each pension.
It means just six senior politicians are paying the super levy this year — which is in stark contrast to what was expected when it was announced by the Government last November.
At the time, Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin said that “everyone had to burden-share” at a time of financial emergency.
Those paying the extra levy are former Taoisigh Bertie Ahern, Brian Cowen, Albert Reynolds and John Bruton, who all have ministerial pensions worth more than €100,000 even before their TD pensions are counted.
Former presidents Mary McAleese and Mary Robinson are also paying the new super levy on their presidential pensions. But former health minister Mary Harney is escaping the super levy because she has a TD’s pension of around €50,000 and a ministerial pension of €79,000.
Another in this category is former finance minister Charlie McCreevy, who has a TD’s pension of around €50,000 and a ministerial pension of €69,000.
Others who are not being hit include former Fianna Fail Junior Minister Frank Fahey, former PD Junior Minister Bobby Molloy and former Labour leader Dick Spring.
These ministers do have to pay the public service pension levy, but not at the higher 20pc rate, which kicks in at €100,000.
The information on those being hit by the levy was supplied by the Department of Public Expenditure to Labour Dublin-Mid West TD Joanna Tuffy. She called for the closure of the loophole.
Mr Wallace walked into their weekly meeting in Leinster House today, even though numerous members do not want him back.
This led Mr McGrath to resign as chairman, and to walk out of the meeting. The Dublin Bay North TD had vowed to resign if Mr Wallace returned.
The Wexford TD does not need permission from the others to rejoin the group, which gives him more Dail speaking rights.
Under Dail rules, the group did not have the power to force him out in the first place, and there is nothing they can do to prevent him from rejoining. He initially left when controversy over his tax cheating first erupted in June.
In a statement, Mr McGrath said he is “fed up” with Mr Wallace.
“I am also appalled at the procedures in Dail Eireann, where rules force a group of Independent TDs to have a member that the vast majority don’t want,” Mr McGrath said.
He also took issue with Mr Wallace’s recent comments on loyalty within Leinster House, asking: “Loyalty to what? Tax evasion?”
Gardaí late last night received a tip off from a night watchman well on the way to alcoholism, which led to a sizeable seizure of Dope and stray cats from the locker rooms of Dáil Éireann.
Speaking on behalf of the Government, Phil Hogan Minister for the Environment, Community, and Local Government pledged that the Government would investigate this matter and take appropriate action. The Minister stated he knew nothing about how the cats came to be on the premises but went on to claim labour were only a crowd of pussies.
Ann Phelan of the labour party stated the finding of stray cats in the Dáil had nothing to with Kilkenny’s recent all Ireland hurling success. She believed in all probability; the culprits were jealous Galway TDs.
In a further development Luke “Ming” Flanagan claimed he had nothing to do with the stash of dope found but acknowledged that the Ceann Comhairle was a dope if ever there was a dope head. Ming further claimed that the Dáil had a long and proud history of having to deal with mind boggling dopes and that the finding of dope in the Dáil was nothing new.
Gardaí later today expect to charge a hundred and sixty six people for these offences.
It represents a significant U-turn on his decision last month to abolish just one of the 1,100 public sector allowances. At the same time, the savings gained will be minimal as many of the allowances involved apply to a minority of public servants.
Fine Gael TDs had experienced a major public backlash over Mr Howlin’s apparent reluctance to cut public service wages.
The allowances that will now be abolished by the end of February include:
* Gaeltacht allowance paid to nurses in Irish-speaking areas, worth €3,500 per year.
* Locomotive allowance for senior gardai who use their private cars for work.
* Acting-up allowance for senior council officials.
* Entertainment allowance for Defence Forces officers who are posted abroad.
* Medical training allowance for consultants, worth €3,000 per year.
The overall cost of the 1,100 allowances in the public sector is €1.5bn per year.
Mr Howlin’s department has not released the full list of 88 allowances facing abolition, or how much the move would save.
But he is now putting pressure on every government department to abolish allowances, which they had said were worth keeping in previous business cases.
The gardai had argued that the locomotion allowance for senior members was “cost-effective and value for money”. The Defence Forces had defended the entertainment allowance on the grounds that its officers were representing the State abroad and were “required to entertain in accordance”.
But they cautioned that they will need to see the full detail to assess the significance of it.
But while Fine Gael backbenchers may have been placated, Mr Howlin’s plan sets him on a collision course with public-sector unions.