Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has defended his party’s tax policy after being accused of offering the Republic’s high earners a bonanza.
The Labour Party described his performance in an RTE Radio 1 interview as embarrassing and “car crash” after Mr Adams suggested the best paid workers would enjoy a low tax rate of just seven per cent on salaries over €100,000.
Under tough questioning on Today With Sean O’Rourke Mr Adams suggested that people on those wages would only pay seven cent in every euro.
“That is the case. That has been carefully worked out with us because we want to be fair in all of this,” the outgoing Louth TD said.
Given repeated opportunities to clarify the party’s income tax policies Mr Adams appeared to suggest that the highest earners would be facing a marginal tax rate of 59 cent in the euro.
But there was further confusion when Mr Adams said the tax would depend on what people spend.
“It will be less when it all tots up,” he said.
“It will be around 59 cent in the full accumulation, depending on how much they spend.”
The Sinn Fein leader had been given the analogy of a car salesman earning more than €100,000 a year and asked to explain how his party’s higher rate of income tax would hit take home pay.
Labour’s Ged Nash, junior business minister, seized on the apparent confusion and urged Mr Adams to retreat to his Donegal holiday home saying he “hadn’t a clue about his own tax plans”.
“Given ample opportunities to clarify his party’s position, Gerry Adams didn’t even recognise the extent of his errors and dismissed any such questioning,” Mr Nash said. “This is a man who has to take his shoes off to help him count to 20.”
The Sinn Fein chief rounded on Mr Nash saying he would not be lectured by him and that he had “no fear” about his party’s income tax policies.
Meanwhile, Labour confirmed it would deliver a referendum and campaign to repeal the eighth amendment of the constitution which outlaws abortion. Alex White, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, said: “No other major political party or grouping will deliver this referendum.”
See Morning View.