Sinn Féin’s spokesman on finance Pearse Doherty has said the EU’s fiscal rules need to be replaced by “fiscal standards” which would allow for investment in areas like housing as well as the environment.
The fiscal rules were suspended during the pandemic but are due to be reintroduced next year. There is currently a broad debate over the reform of the rules.
Speaking at an online event hosted by the Institute for International and European Affairs, Pearse Doherty said the current rules “are not fit for purpose”.
In a wide-ranging address, Pearse Doherty also said affordable housing is a key plank of Ireland’s competitiveness and that the current “chronic” shortage of housing “is eroding incomes”.
He reiterated one of Sinn Féin’s policies that it would double investment in social and affordable housing.
Deputy Doherty also clearly expressed his opposition to the Special Assignee Relief Programme (SARP) whereby executives posted to Ireland by multinationals can get income tax breaks. He described it as “not fair and not equitable” and said it should be abolished.
He said tax advantages enjoyed by so-called cuckoo firms which purchase newly built accommodation in order to rent them out should be removed.
According to Mr Doherty, Sinn Féin favours introducing a rent freeze for a period of three years, combined with a tax credit for renters to counter “runaway rents”.
“Land hoarding” should also be curtailed with “punitive” levies on zoned residential land that is not being used, the Sinn Féin TD said.
Mr Doherty said his party supported a wealth tax, the design of which should be “evidence-based”.
He said the mortgage lending rules, currently under review by the Central Bank, are a matter for the bank, adding that “it will make its own determination”.