News & Media

Howlin calls for national social dialogue for regional jobs growth and quality public services

27 February 2020

Statement by Brendan Howlin TD
Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Northern Ireland

Responding to IBEC’s call for social dialogue and a new Commission on Taxation, the leader of the Labour Party, Brendan Howlin TD, called for social dialogue to include a pathway towards universal healthcare and affordable housing.

Deputy Howlin said:

“Labour has been calling for a standing Commission on Taxation for a number of years, and we welcome IBEC’s support for the establishment of a new Tax Commission. A lot has changed since the last Commission Report in 2009, and it is time to ensure the tax base is secure to fund public services and social protection into the future.

“Labour’s priorities for a new Commission on Taxation include ensuring the long-term sustainability of the Social Insurance Fund, ensuring social protection for the self-employed is adequately funded, and ensuring that companies pay an effective rate of Corporation Tax at or close to the 12.5% rate.

“Ireland’s economy is doing well on average, but the Dublin region is developing much faster than the rest of the country, with many areas lagging behind in terms of good jobs and even basic infrastructure.

“Labour’s answer is for Ireland to become more like the highly productive, innovative and sustainable economies of Northern Europe, such as Denmark, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands. These countries do more to maximise employment, to provide world class public services and to give every person real opportunity in life.

“There is a need for renewed social dialogue involving trade unions and other civil society organisations, alongside employers’ representatives and industry groups. This is the norm across most of Northern Europe, and it is an important component of their success in building and maintaining prosperity.

“High quality public services and modern infrastructure come at a price. That is why we need to have the findings of the Commission on Taxation to inform the national conversation on Ireland’s future.

“We can have the same, high quality of healthcare, childcare and public transport that is provided in other European countries, and we can build enough public housing to make homes affordable again, even in our major cities. But to achieve this, we need to have an inclusive national conversation that provides citizens with a vision for Ireland’s future development.”