Taoiseach defends concrete levy as Sinn Féin prepares motion calling to scrap plan

2022-10-08 12:55:21 By : Ms. Tracy Zhang

Sinn Féin will bring a motion before the Dáil on Tuesday to call on the Government to scrap the levy and to “hold those actually responsible for housing defects to account.” Picture: PA

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said the details of the concrete levy have to be “fleshed” out following backlash that the 10% levy could add thousands to the cost of buying a house.

However, he defended the budgetary measure despite political controversy and warning of price increases from representatives from the construction industry.

Sinn Féin will bring a motion before the Dáil on Tuesday to call on the Government to scrap the levy and to “hold those actually responsible for housing defects to account”. 

Sinn Féin is calling for a defects levy that instead focuses on the banks, the profits of big developers and those responsible for defects.

Mr Martin said motions like Sinn Féin’s are “political in nature,” and designed to create political debate.

He added: “The Finance Bill will deal with this issue in terms of fleshing out the proposals.” 

He said significant expenditure is needed for the mica redress scheme and a revenue stream is required to assist, adding the details on the concrete levy “will be worked out.” 

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Mr Martin also said schools should get their resources from the HSE and public health agencies in respect of educating pupils about alcohol.

Mr Martin's comments come after the Irish Examiner revealed Drinkaware, which is funded by the alcohol industry, is working with schools against the advice of the HSE and Department of Health.

Mr Martin said: “The partnership should be between education, the HSE and the department of health.

“I think it's through the HSE and the public health agencies that schools should draw resources from school.

“I don't think the drinks industry should be near schools in respect of anything to do with addiction generally. And I think many of the schools are probably entering in good faith.

“I mean, they're anxious to try and help students and help young people.” 

Drinkaware, with funders including Diageo, Bulmers Ireland and Heineken confirmed, that to date, 15,000 first to third-year students have gone through its school programme.

The Taoiseach said there is a curriculum that has been developed by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment “in relation to as I say, social personnel and health issues, and that's the proper context.” 

Mr Martin said nothing was rejected in Budget 2023 when asked about the possibility of the introduction of a 30% income tax rate which was mooted by Tanáiste Leo Varadkar.

He said: “We're not ruling anything out.

“We just believe that obviously in the next budget, we have to look at things in the round both tax, pay, obviously investment in public services, and also to make sure that both middle-income earners and lower income earners are catered for.

“Of course, the big issue is uncertainties and events that could occur in 2023. So we do need a maximum of flexibility to deal with that.”

Read MoreFarmers' group calls for reversal of concrete levy

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