Fine Gael budget kite flight is probably just the start of the Coalition wrangles

There is supposed to be tension in the cord when you fly a kite or else it will just fall limply to the ground. Three junior ministers who this week floated the idea of income tax cuts worth €1,000 to average earners, certainly retained plenty of tension.

This particular budget kite is more likely to fall foul of the old warning about electrocution when kites get stuck on nearby high-voltage wires.

Big income tax cuts for middle earners aren’t what upset Fianna Fáil the most. The party may be talking about Fine Gael undermining the budgetary process, or not repeating past mistakes of spending too much money on current spending, but the plan isn’t all that much out of kilter with what is contained in the Programme for Government.

The real problem was the fact the three junior ministers wrote in a national newspaper about what they and their party leader – the Taoiseach – would like to see in the next budget.

Fringe backbenchers, if they could land the column inches, would have been be OK. But three ministers of state, with the backing of the Taoiseach? That looks like a strategy.

It has created expectations among the electorate, which in turn can create disappointments if the measures are not delivered.

It also lays down a firm marker as to what Fine Gael says it would like, but was blocked by those “more miserable” coalition partners, one of whom happens to be finance minister.

Sweep aside all the political role-playing and posturing and the bigger question is whether this is the right thing to do.

Leo Varadkar said there was a clear commitment in the Programme for Government to index tax bands and raise tax credits “should we be able to afford to do so.” He says we can afford it.

The Programme for Government didn’t say anything about fuelling inflation when it looks like staying persistently high.

Neither did it say anything about the latest Bank of Ireland savings survey which found 74pc of 1,000 household respondents are saving regularly. This was up from 68pc in November.

Nearly three quarters of households are managing to put money away and the number has grown.

Last year’s budget delivered several changes on income tax, including changing bands and credits which were worth around €800 per year to those on the higher income tax rate.

The economy and the Exchequer have continued to perform very strongly since last year and this is reflected in a higher income tax and corporate tax take.

However, we have to be careful here. Around 30pc of workers don’t pay any income tax at all.This is because we have a fairer , more progressive tax system than many other countries but it leaves our income tax base a bit narrow.

The €30.7bn in income tax taken in last year by the Exchequer was paid by around 1.8 million workers. However, of the €22.6bn in corporation tax taken in, around €12.5bn of it came from just 10 large multinationals.

This is great while it lasts but surely the narrowness of that tax base should set off alarm bells. Nobody knows for sure how long those extra billions in corporate tax will keep rolling in.

During the cost-of-living spike, the Government was in a position to cut excise on fuel to help ease the financial pain for motorists.

This is due to climb back up to previous levels between now and October. It starts with a 6c per litre increase on petrol and 5c on diesel from June 1.

It is a lot easier for the Government to cut and then re-instate something like fuel excise than it is to mess around with income tax bands and credits worth €1,000 per average worker.

We have to bear in mind that while inflation has eroded disposable income and buying power for some time now, the Government delivered a €1.3bn income tax package last year.

The cut-off point for earning the top rate of tax has gone from €35,500 in 2019 to €40,000 now. Fixing the housing problem would be better than a “let them eat cake” tax slashing policy.

It seems the political narrative around not using windfall corporate tax gains to fuel day-to-day spending or reduce day-to-day tax receipts, hasn’t lasted very long.

This particular kite is up there now and it does create a new level of expectation on Fianna Fáil to deliver a very substantial tax package on budget day – whether we can afford it or not.

Is Meta too big to fine?

The situation that unfolded around this week’s €1.2bn Meta fine for data transfer breaches was quite bizarre.

The company denies it broke rules while also suggesting it was being singled out.

The Irish Data Protection Commissioner issued the fine but didn’t initially recommend that there be a fine at all. Whatever about the technicalities of the case and whether a new agreement coming soon between the EU and US will solve some of the issues, surely a fine was in order.

Break the rules and you’re fined. The Irish Data Protection Commissioner reportedly said the imposition of an administrative fine, along with an order directing the suspension of data transfers, “would not be effective, proportionate and dissuasive”.

But surely where you have a company as big as Meta, the fines should not only be there but they should be substantial too.

Perhaps the other regulators in Europe who wanted a fine, believed it would make better headlines and the public impact of that alone would be helpful.

This is a strong argument and difficult to refute. Surely the effectiveness of the ruling is partially derived from the level of stink that can be created around the findings of the investigation.

With annual revenues last year of $117bn (€109bn) and net income of $21.4bn, a fine of $1.2bn is proportionate as it will get noticed but won’t break the bank.

Barryroe’s decades long oil adventure but with no oil

Has billionaire beef processor Larry Goodman been taking a short-term punt on Barryroe shares, or taking a long-term punt on its oil and gas finds off the Irish coast?

It is most likely that when the beef baron bought into the stock and provided an underwriting facility of €40m he wasn’t necessarily thinking of becoming an oil baron as well.

He has made several very successful arbitrage-type share investments around corporate takeovers in the past.

But this punt on oil and gas has been scuppered by Environment Minister Eamon Ryan’s department.

Department officials shot down the company’s application for a licence, not on the grounds that it goes against government exploration policy but that it didn’t meet criteria around value of assets on its balance sheet.

It is supposed to have net tangible assets of three and a half times the cost of planned work. These 2019 rules look prohibitive as nobody could finance exploration on that basis.

Rules aimed at preventing just anybody from rocking up and getting a licence will now ensure nobody rocks up and gets a licence.

What started out with Tony O’Reilly in the 1980s through Atlantic Resources may finish with Larry Goodman and some court challenges. But no oil.

Get ahead of the day with the morning headlines at 7.30am and Fionnán Sheahan’s exclusive take on the day’s news every afternoon, with our free daily newsletter.

News Related


‘It’s crazy to think I’m in a position to be part of the team’ – Emily Whelan ready for Lansdowne Roar

Emily Whelan is part of a growing Irish contingent at Glasgow City. Photo: Sportsfile Until now she’s only been inside the Dublin 4 venue as a spectator, including one trip ... Read more »

Most bins are full of the wrong waste as public falls down on sorting for recycling

Bins put out for collection by households and businesses are full of things that do not belong in them, a study of the country’s waste sorting habits shows. More than ... Read more »

'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air': This Is "Carlton" Today!

Alfonso Ribeiro as “Carlton Banks” on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was a popular showAlfonso Ribeiro starred as “Carlton”Learn more about what he’s been up to ... Read more »

Wexford County Council sees over 1,000 expressions of interest in 19 local authority houses

The 19 local authority properties currently listed on Wexford County Council’s new choice based letting system have seen over 12,000 views online and over 1,000 expressions of interest, Wexford Borough ... Read more »

F1 LIVE | FP2 for the Japanese Grand Prix: Long runs and qualifying sims

F1 LIVE | FP2 for the Japanese Grand Prix: Long runs and qualifying sims With the first free practice behind us, it’s time for the most representative session of the ... Read more »

Trending: Six cropped blazers to snap up this autumn

Ah, autumn… It really is a truly tricky time for our wardrobes and there is one jacket that will get you out of a style pinch effortlessly. Cropped blazers have ... Read more »

Cork Senior ‘A’ FC quarter-finals: Knocknagree and Béal Ath’n renew rivalry

BON SECOURS COUNTY SENIOR A FC QUARTER-FINALS Knocknagree v Béal Ath’n Ghaorthaidh Saturday, September 23 Clondrohid 5pm The sides met at the same stage last season, a titanic struggle developed ... Read more »

Wexford author encourages young readers to discover Irish books – ‘right now they don’t know we exist’

A children’s author from Gorey is one of the driving forces behind a campaign which seeks to help young Irish readers discover more Irish books. Eve McDonnell and a group ... Read more »

Kerry SFC Group 3 previews: Spa in a battle for survival away to Kerins O’Rahillys

GARVEY’S COUNTY SFC GROUP 3 ROUND 2 Kerins O’Rahillys v Spa Were this game a first round game, we’d probably relatively confidently tap the visitors to Strand Road as likely ... Read more »

New dawn for Arklow’s Cruinniú choir as founder steps down

A new era beckons for the Arklow choir Cruinniú as they bid a fond farewell to musical director and founder Rosarii Kinsella and prepare for a rebrand going forward. Rosarii ... Read more »

Cork Premier SFC: Mallow can edge out Carrigaline to retain senior status

Cork stars Matty Taylor and Shane Merritt will need to perform for the Carrigoon outfit  Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile BON SECOURS COUNTY PREMIER SFC RELEGATION PLAY-OFF Mallow v Carrigaline Sunday ... Read more »

Child prodigy rejected by Oxford after exam board lost his A-level paper

Jack Graham missed out on a place at the University of Oxford after an exam board lost his A-level paper – Andy Graham/SWNS A child prodigy who took his maths ... Read more »

An RV-life couple who pay $800 a month to live seasonally at a ski resort and a winery break down their lifestyle and expenses

Destiny Pauls and Kellan Cousins in front of their RV. Courtesy of Destiny Pauls and Kellan Cousins Destiny Pauls and Kellan Cousins bought an RV in December and have been ... Read more »

Queen Camilla Wears Queen Elizabeth's Beloved Jewels To French Banquet

Royal Ascot 2019 – Day Two Queen Camilla stuns at French state banquetShe wears jewels from Queen ElizabethCamilla looks so regal! Queen Camilla channels Queen Elizabeth with her favourite jewels ... Read more »

Co Wexford man is remembered at tree planting in his honour

Monageer Parish Grotto Group gathered together recently to plant a tree in memory of George Dunbar, who passed away on May 2, 2022. George’s wife, Shelia planted a tree in ... Read more »

Young golfers celebrated at County Louth Golf Club end of season presentations

County Louth has a very active junior section with lots to celebrate and their juniors, together with their families and the Officers of the Golf Club, came together for an ... Read more »

Wexford’s champion boxers honoured with Jem Roche medals

Maintaining a long-held tradition, Wexford’s finest young boxers received their Jem Roche medals following a special ceremony in the Bullring. Awarded to all of the county’s underage All-Ireland boxing champions, ... Read more »

Gwen Stefani admits Blake Shelton taught her about country music

Gwen Stefani admits Blake Shelton taught her about country music Gwen Stefani has “learned” a lot about country music thanks to Blake Shelton. The 53-year-old pop star previously appeared alongside ... Read more »

Carjacker kills woman by zip-tying her throat - before leaving eerie note

A carjacker killed a woman by zip-tying her throat – before leaving behind an eerie note apologising for the horrific killing. Suspect Reese Miller, 24, was caught driving a blue ... Read more »

Susanna Reid replaced on GMB again as she continues to struggle after the NTAs

Susanna Reid has apologised to her followers as she revealed that she would not be presenting Good Morning Britain again on Monday as she continues to recover from an illness. ... Read more »

Meghan Markle's unprecedented pre-royal interview 'left Palace furious'

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have always done things their way when it comes to their relationship, ripping up the royal rule book at every twist and turn. While many ... Read more »

Thousands of local authority workers begin industrial action today

FÓRSA TRADE UNION members working in local authorities are beginning industrial action today. The union, which represents over 12,000 local authority workers, said that the decision to take action comes ... Read more »

Mother-of-one (48) is jailed for 506th conviction after stealing handbag from coffee shop

A serial thief with 505 prior convictions who stole from a woman’s handbag in a coffee shop has been jailed for four months. Mother-of-one Catherine Lambert (48) clocked up her ... Read more »

Tony Ward: If Johnny Sexton stays in this form and injury-free, Ireland will give World Cup one hell of a rattle

Johnny Sexton holds his hand after picking up a knock when scoring his first-half try Think back to those schooldays, to that dreaded final public exam, and this in a ... Read more »

Postcard from the TGV: An odyssey of a World Cup weekend

THE SUN IS rising to the right of the train as we speed past Lyon and on towards Paris. Another lovely day is upon France although, mercifully, it’s set to ... Read more »

Kingspan said to make rebuffed proposal for tie-up with Carlisle

Kingspan Group Plc made an informal approach to combine with American firm Carlisle Cos., which rebuffed the move to build a global building materials giant, people familiar with the matter ... Read more »

Americans look back on 9/11 and remember the victims on 22nd anniversary

A man leans on parapet surrounding the South reflecting pool of World Trade Center 9 11 Memorial. AMERICANS ARE LOOKING back on the horror and legacy of September 11, gathering ... Read more »

Ukraine LIVE: Russia to send ‘thousands of zombies' to fight in Putin's war of ‘madness'

Putin is increasing its professional soldier pool, according to the British MoD Russia intends to recruit more than a hundred thousand professional recruits and prisoners to “avoid further unpopular mobilisations”, ... Read more »

NFL Fans Are Praying For Family Of Legendary Giants Star

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – DECEMBER 14: Quarterback Phil Simms #11 of the New York Giants huddles with the offense, including wide receiver Stacy Robinson #81 and tight end Mark Bavaro ... Read more »

Jimmy Nesbitt reveals Late Late Show date with Patrick Kielty as he tips Irish rugby team for World Cup success

Jimmy Nesbitt has revealed he will appear on the Late Late Show this month — with the actor currently in Northern Ireland training for a gruelling endurance challenge in aid ... Read more »
Kênh kiến thức kỹ năng, phát triển bản thân, hướng nghiệp, blog nhân sự