Varadkar: Sinn Fein will cause return of forced emigration –

The Tánaiste has warned that Sinn Féin’s economic policies would drive foreign investors out of the country and result in job losses, pay cuts and a return to forced emigration.
In a scathing attack, Leo Varadkar said a Sinn Féin-led government would sink Ireland’s multinational-driven corporation tax regime.
The Fine Gael leader and Enterprise Minister – who is due to take over from Micheál Martin as Taoiseach in December – told the Irish Mail on Sunday: ‘Under Sinn Féin, Ireland will no longer be at the heart of Europe and no longer a supporter of free trade.
‘As sure as night follows day, there will be fewer jobs, less investment, lower incomes, higher unemployment and a return to forced emigration. The cake will shrink and we’ll all be worse off.’
Mr Varadkar’s offensive comes as latest polls put Sinn Féin support at 35%, which would leave the party just short of an overall majority at the next general election.
It comes amid fears in the business community about the potential impact of Sinn Féin policies.
In its submission to the Commission on Taxation and Welfare, Sinn Féin proposed gradually increasing employers’ PRSI to the European average – a move that could double the rate of social contributions paid by businesses.
The party also signalled it would implement a third income tax rate for those earning over €140,000, raise capital gains tax from 33% to 40%, increase inheritance tax from 33% to 36%, and replace property tax with a wealth tax.
Earlier this month, corporate law firm William Fry confirmed that potential foreign investors are asking their local advisers about the possible makeup of the next government and whether Sinn Féin would be business-friendly.
In an indication of the growing belief that Sinn Féin is on the cusp of power, one senior business figure told the MoS: ‘There is now a conspiracy of silence when it comes to Sinn Féin. No one dares say a word against them.’
Concern is growing about Ireland’s reliance on corporation tax revenue, which accounts for a quarter of all Exchequer receipts.
The Tax Strategy Group warned this week it is one of the ‘significant headwinds’ the Coalition will face.
According to latest Exchequer figures, corporation tax contributes €15.32bn to the economy, not including the €14.3bn paid in income tax by 761,000 multinational employees here.
Mr Varadkar and several ministers warned this weekend that Sinn Féin’s policies are placing this income in real danger.
He said: ‘Sinn Féin wants to hike income tax on doctors, entrepreneurs, tech experts and business executives.
‘Sinn Féin wants to increase employers’ PRSI and to double it in some cases. This will make it more expensive to employ people so there will be fewer jobs.’
He said this would lead to a flight of talent where ‘many will leave and take their jobs and skills with them to the UK, US and Europe.
This will result in less revenue for the Government, not more. Very high taxes simply don’t work in a competitive world.’
On international relations, the Fine Gael leader said: ‘Sinn Féin opposed joining the EU, the single market and the euro. They have changed their tune on these but remain Ireland’s Eurosceptic party, opposing free trade deals with countries like Canada.’ Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath accused Sinn Féin of playing ‘dangerous games’ with Irish workers’ future.
He said: ‘Sinn Féin would now have us believe they are the best friend of multina- tionals, but no one should be fooled by this spectacular Uturn. For years, their attitude in the Dáil and in Oireachtas committees has been hostile and downright negative towards the foreign direct investment sector.
‘Sinn Féin claims that heaping more taxes on people earning €100,000 will have no impact on Ireland’s attractiveness for inward investment, but these are the very people who decide where the investment goes. If they don’t want to be in Ireland, the investment and the jobs go with them.’
He added: ‘Sinn Féin is playing a very dangerous game with the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of ordinary Irish workers who rely on the multinational sector directly or indirectly for their job, and their ability to pay… rent or a mortgage.’
Junior Minister Peter Burke accused Sinn Féin of populist and unsustainable economic policies.
The Fine Gael TD said: ‘Sinn Féin is engaged in a dangerous and cynical gamble which could have serious consequences for working people and families.
‘An open economy like ours is very dependent on external investment. Our carefully balanced policies are central to sustaining a high level of employment.
‘Sinn Féin simply don’t get this. They use the magic money tree to underpin their populist policies with no clarity on how spending will be sustainable.’
Junior Minister and Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins said: ‘We are in real danger that Sinn Féin will kill the goose that lays the golden egg.
‘All the economic indicators suggest we face real challenges in maintaining the current level of multinationals and corporation tax. This is being undermined from within by Sinn Féin. They are creating a real danger of a flight of capital and jobs with their irresponsibility.’
Sinn Féin declined to respond to the criticisms when contacted by the MoS this weekend.
Concerns about a flight of foreign investment are exacerbated by fears of a looming US recession. One minister said: ‘The great threat now is what happens if America contracts. There could be serious contagion.’
The small business sector here has urged the Government to reset policy on indigenous enterprise.
The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association has said: ‘While foreign multinationals play a huge and valued role in the Irish economy… their contribution to Ireland’s net national product is eclipsed by that of the indigenous SME sector.’
ISME chief Neil McDonnell said: ‘We can no longer place all our eggs in the foreign direct investment basket. The existence of a vibrant, profitable, and expanding indigenous enterprise base is essential to Ireland’s financial and social wellbeing.’
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