13 October 2015
By Bryan T. Smyth
Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Cork South-West Councillor Margaret Murphy-O’Mahony says the pre-budget proposals unveiled by her party will deliver growth and fairness for communities in west Cork.
Margaret commented, “Fairness is at the heart of our pre-budget proposals. We want to take account of ability to pay and to bring services in west Cork back up to a high standard after years of neglect by Fine Gael and Labour.
“We believe the Universal Social Charge should be reformed in a way that spreads the benefits of economic recovery. It’s time to build up our public services but also give some relief to people paying a lot of money in tax. Our proposals will ensure that tax cuts are targeted towards those that need them the most. In contrast Fine Gael and Labour seem obsessed with assisting higher earners at every opportunity.
“The Government has allowed services in west Cork to deteriorate significantly in recent years. We have come accustomed to longer waiting times for hospital services and overcrowding in Emergency Departments is now a daily occurrence. We are committed to investing money in frontline services in areas such as healthcare, policing and education to ensure people get value for the taxes they pay.
“Our pre-budget proposals also seek to address the growing housing crisis affecting people in communities in west Cork. We will direct money towards investment in housing and raise the rent ceiling by an average of 10% for rent supplement recipients to help keep people in their homes.
“The cost of childcare is also a serious burden on young couples. I am meeting families all the time in Bantry, Clonakilty, Bandon, Skibbereen and Dunmanway who are under huge financial pressure. We want to help new families by implementing a targeted tax credit to assist low to middle income households meet their childcare costs. This tax credit aims to cover 20 to 40% of a family’s cost of childcare that is undertaken with a registered childcare provider. We will also work to encourage the opening of new crèches in west Cork to make the cost of childcare more affordable.
“Another core strategy in our pre-budget submission is to significantly reform Ireland’s enterprise policies. The Government is currently solely occupied on attracting foreign direct investment, but this is risky when you consider how vulnerable Ireland is to international economic shocks. We believe that a greater focus should be placed on strengthening our domestic entrepreneurs.
“Fianna Fáil has long argued that we need to better cater for self-employed people, and we have advanced key proposals to do just this. We will extend PRSI benefits to the self-employed on a voluntary basis and implement a Earned Income Tax Credit for the self-employed equal to the value of the PAYE tax credit. This would begin in 2016 with an immediate tax credit of €500 for self-employed people.”