Analysis
tax

Election 2016 – What the parties are promising on tax

The main political parties are proposing a smorgasbord of different measures to woo voters. Below are the key personal taxation measures from the various parties. Fine Gael: Inheritance tax ceiling up, 5% tax on incomes over €100,000 and abolish USC Fine Gael is proposing to abolish the USC between now and 2020. It is a big bold step and would cost a whopping €3.7 billion. To help pay for that the party would impose a 5% additional tax for those …

Fiscal Space

The election campaign is not yet a week old.  And like all newborns it is noisy and messy and not yet making much sense. Much of the initial wailing has been about the vexed question of the fiscal space. As Michael Noonan has noted, calculating the fiscal space is not high maths. But the political handling of this issue has succeeded in generating extraordinary levels of confusion. Here are the facts: On the day before the election was called Sinn …

Jury’s out on the Special Criminal Court

The very existence of the Special Criminal Court has become an unexpected battleground in the election campaign. The court is used to try cases without a jury, where it’s believed that juries and witnesses could be at risk of intimidation. It’s on the agenda because of the violent gun attack in the Regency Hotel in Dublin last weekend, where an audacious shooting was carried out by criminals dressed as Gardaí. One man was shot dead and two are being treated …

Fiscal Space – this madness must end!

There is no double counting. There is no mystery. It’s really simple. The net fiscal space is €8.6 billion. This figure has not changed since last October, when it was published as part of the Budget. Nobody has obtained special information from the Department of Finance to suggest otherwise. Nobody has discovered anything new. Fine Gael uses the €8.6 billion figure in its calculations of what might be feasible for the next government. Labour does the same. So does Fianna …

The EU-US Privacy Shield – what is it?

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent The EU and US have announced a new deal which they hope will allow the lawful mass transfer of European citizens data from the EU to the US to resume. The agreement will have EU and US authorities as well as US tech multinationals heaving a sigh of relief. But it’s not that simple. Why was a new deal needed? US technology companies with operations in Europe like Facebook, Google and Amazon for …

Labour Fights for Survival

It can’t be easy, facing into an election where the voters will decide whether they want to keep you in the corridors of power, cast you onto the opposition benches, or throw you out of Leinster House altogether. The polls suggest that the Labour Party has a hard landing coming once the votes are cast, but from what I gathered at the weekend party conference, the party knows that it has a fight on its hands. In the Mullingar Park …

Banking inquiry – Imperfect but not useless

Many may view the banking inquiry as a failure because of the absence of findings against individuals. That’s not surprising given the onerous restrictions on the probe. But it does lay responsibility for what happened on the shoulders of the regulators, government, Europe and bankers.

Cheap oil isn’t all good news

Oil prices have been steadily dropping – a development welcomed by many people. But there is a shadow to what might look like good news for consumers. In 2014 oil prices were an average of $99 a barrel and last year they were an average of $52. This year has been marked by continuing price falls with costs dipping below $28 – a surprisingly low figure. Economically this has benefits – consumers enjoy lower costs for petrol and diesel – …

School admissions policy under UN spotlight

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child will question a Government delegation on Ireland’s record regarding children’s rights on 14 January. Their agenda is a broad one and it includes the issue of school admissions and religion. Specifically, the UN wants to know what measures are being taken to ensure children are not denied a school place on religious grounds. It also wants to know about measures taken to ensure children have the right to opt-out of religious classes and/or …

Will flood levy cause a new storm?

Insurance offers protection against risk, but not against certainty – this is the cold-comfort response that homeowners in areas prone to flooding get when they question why they can’t get covered. Many people who have been hit by the recent floods will be left to pick up the pieces without the help of a cheque from an insurance claim; often because they were flooded before and so couldn’t get the cover that they needed. The people whose homes, land and …

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