ICTU and NERI meet Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe TD

6 Sep 2019

Government Buildings 2 Government Buildings

Representatives of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and of the Nevin Economic Research Institute (NERI), met the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure Pascal Donohoe TD, this afternoon to discuss Budget 2020.

The ICTU representatives were Patricia King (General Secretary) and Ger Gibbons (Social Policy Officer) and the NERI representative was Tom McDonnell (Senior Economist).

The delegation stressed that cutting taxes in the forthcoming budget would be entirely inappropriate given the totally inadequate level of public expenditure and investment in Ireland compared to other high-income European countries, as previously documented by NERI, and of the numerous challenges now facing the Irish economy and society. The delegation urged the Government to introduce additional revenue-raising measures, such as the introduction of a net wealth tax, reforms to capital taxation and to PRSI, in order to provide some of the additional resources that are needed to overcome infrastructural deficits in housing, health and education as well as to prepare for Brexit and to ensure the sustainability of the Social Insurance Fund.

The delegation warned that Brexit could have devastating consequences for tens of thousands of workers in Ireland. They called on the Government to introduce a Short-Time Work Scheme to preserve jobs in sectors that are most at risk, to introduce a Brexit Adjustment Assistance Fund to retrain and upskill workers in these sectors, and to support the revision of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund to ensure it can support workers who might be made redundant because of Brexit.

They also emphasised the importance and indeed the necessity to involve unions in all Brexit-related preparations, if the negative consequences of Brexit for business, workers, regions and communities are to be minimised.