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Labour Blog

Joan on Nama

Posted on September 08, 2009 at 05:26 PM

'May you live in interesting times' - so goes the Chinese curse.

The next 100 days could be the most interesting times an independent Ireland has seen yet. The word 'historic' may well be a hackneyed cliché, but it's quite possible that the months that lie ahead will come to be viewed as such many years hence.

First up is the Lisbon Treaty - given Ireland's financial predicament, Ireland now needs Europe more than ever. A Yes vote won't guarantee recovery, but a No vote would make it that much more difficult.

Next up is NAMA - never before since independence has so much been at stake. Fianna Fáil have led the country up a blind alley with their blanket guarantee, botched recapitalisation and nationalising a basket case called Anglo... not to mention the fact that it was they who stoked the property bubble with outrageous tax incentives and then forgot to regulate their sacred free market. Ooops! Now they are trying to foist on us NAMA, which appears designed to bailout the banks with a back door capital injection by overpaying for dodgy assets. NAMA could well be the GUBU of the noughties. This week, the Labour Party published its comprehensive critique of NAMA and set out its vision for a public ownership alternative.

As if that wasn't enough excitement for political junkies, the 2010 budget could be the big kahuna. Ahead of budget preparations, the Commission on Taxation report was published this week. It set out a wide menu of tax reforms for the Government to choose from. With a budget deficit heading for €25bn, there is no doubt that Fianna Fáil envisages more tax hikes to plug the gap. In some sense, this report was a missed opportunity to explore the myriad of tax loopholes for the wealthy. Closing these down should not be an optional extra - the people who have most must pay their fair share before low-to-middle income families are stiffed for yet more cash.

by Joan Burton TD - Labour Party Spokesperson on Finance

[You can read Joan's statement from today's press conference in our media centre, our analysis of the NAMA Bill is available in our policy section while photographs from the launch can be found on Flickr.]

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