First of all, we would do an overhaul of the tax system

Says Gerry Adams on RTE’s This Week, by making sure the super-rich get taxed. Sinn Fein would stop public money going into ‘privateers and speculators’, he says, by stopping tax incentives, “tax give-aways in terms of the privatisation of the health service”, and that “all of the loopholes that are being exploited by the super rich would be closed”. Corporation tax in the south would not be increased; Adams says that SF wants to harmonise it right across the island and further to that wants to give small, local, indigenous businesses the same assistance as given to multinationals, and would keep corporation tax at 12.5%, a change from their previous policy of wanting to raise it to 17.5%. Snippets from the interview:
“For the same amount of money we could eliminate huge areas of poverty in terms of families who are living on low incomes in terms of taking children under the age of 18 and giving them the type of equality of opportunity in terms of sorting out the education of, Sinn Fein would promise to take all of our children out of pre-fabs and put them into decent buildings.”
Tax on workers: asked about a tax rate of 50% on high earners (€100,000), “No longer policy, it was a pre-budget submission,” Adams says. “We are proposing that we should not be increasing the tax take on middle income families – people who earn 100,000 are not super rich. We are not about increasing the tax. We will have a year of long overhaul to make sure loopholes are closed. We have no intention of increasing the tax intake for middle income or lower income. The big issue, how are the taxes that are raised are being used.”
When pressed about details of what tax rates would be, Adams said, “We don’t need to know (what the rates are going to be). The big issues that I’m getting back from the doorsteps is the disgraceful state of the health services. So what Sinn Fein is saying is that the public’s money would be put into the health services.
“There’s a crisis in housing, we’re saying, when you ask about tax, we would not remove Stamp Duty. We would give mortgage interest relief to full time buyers because they clearly need help and people who want to downsize, principle homeowners because they also need help but we would not help speculators and we would give stamp duty money into, dedicate it, into a house build programme of 14,000.
“We’d give those people (people considering buying a house at the moment) mortgage tax relief.”
Listen to the interview.

  • PP

    Be prepared for Gerry to paint himself (and SF) as some kind of Robin Hood figure… He knows those “working class types” will lap it up – Gerry for President’!

  • confused

    What the Hell does Adams know about economics or the running of a state?

  • Elvira

    About as much as Dev. And we know where that got us.

  • kensei

    How much do any of them really know about government before they start? And, actually, Adams wouldn’t be in Government, North or South.

    Thought he was a bit weak when pressed on the tax situation – clearly SF want to do something with above average earners, but don’t want anything too specific to attack them in the campaign. Don’t think he got the balance right. I thought he was much better thereafter – particularly on Stamp Duty (cutting it is a pointless waste of time) and on the three commitments that were fairly specific.

  • Valenciano

    While usually well intentioned, experience from elsewhere has shown that the result of such attempts to “squeeze the rich until the pips squeak” is that those with cash simply decamp elsewhere.

    He’d do well to remember that 25% of something is always better than 50% of nothing.

  • joeCanuck

    “What the Hell does Adams know about economics or the running of a state?”

    Same as Paisley I would guess.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The interview as quoted above does not give away anything specifically to suggest that SF would start bringing in massive tax hikes. They’ve clearly done some belated homework on the corporation tax matter and found that the idea of increasing it was decidedly unpopular.

    In Ireland there are many hundreds of thousands of people for whom the Celtic Tiger has meant very little. These are a rich seam of prospective voters who want their cut, and I can see how Adams is trying to get them in.

  • jaffa

    As someone with an interest in small, local, indigenous businesses I’d put reduction / elimination in employer’s NI & rates along with 100% write-offs on investments well ahead of reduction in taxation in my own wish-list. I’d also be happy to treat the sale of assets as taxable sales and to forgo indexation allowances and so forth to get rid of capital gains tax and sweep everything up into one simple small business tax.

    In short I’d rather pay a higher rate of tax (ideally the same as income tax) when I have the profit and the free cash to do so and not find myself having to borrow to pay tax when I’m trying to commit the profit to reinvestment (incidentally usually buying assets that someone else is paying tax on the sales of anyway…so what’s the rush Mr Chancellor?).

    That’d be a greater incentive to investment than mucking about with extra tax rates.

  • New Yorker

    A vote for his party is a vote for a lower standard of living. Is that really what people want?

  • Gum

    Explain, New Yorker. Otherwise shut up and stop sniping from the sidelines.

  • protorious

    Ah so, Mr Adams plans to increase funding for the health service, state schools and state sponsored housing developments while at the same time reducing mortage tax and promising not to increase tax on average income…

    Sounds like SF have finally learned how to make outlandish economic claims that can never really be achieved, looks like they’ve finally embraced modern politics.

  • New Yorker


    The international business community considers SF economics to be a combination of marxism and mafia. Any country containing a party in government with those economics will not only discourage business investment but cause a withdrawl of present investment. Declining personal stanards of living are the inevitable result. SF may be able to hoodwink some in Ireland, but not those in the real world.

    BTW, I am not on the sidelines; but it soulds like you are in the margin.

  • Swordman

    There are no leading economists that agree with the SF’s policy. It is generally viewed as “aspirational”, trying to be everything to everyone – a bit like SF in general I think! 😉