Taoiseach’s claims to a Republic of Opportunity are a sham: Mary Lou McDonald

Updated 10.30pm: The Taoiseach’s talk of a Republic of Opportunity is sham and Ireland is in reality a Republic of Opportunism for bankers, according to Sinn Féin deputy leader, Mary Lou McDonald.

Ms McDonald made the suggestion during heated exchanges in the Dail where she hit out at the government after it emerged AIB won’t pay tax on its profits for over 20 years.

It emerged today that the bank will be able to offset losses from the recession against future profits.

Speaking in the Dail Ms McDonald said: "You are prepared to tolerate people sleeping in doorways, sick and going without treatment. Your talk of a Republic of Opportunity is once again exposed as a sham.

"It is in reality a Republic of Opportunism where your goverment dances to the tune of opportunistic bankers."

Responding the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, dismissed suggestions the state is foregoing tax money from AIB.

"The way tax works ... is that if you have made losses in a previous years you can offset them against future tax liabilities and the same thing applies to banks for example.

"However to ensure that we do get some revenues from banks we have introduced a specific bank levy which is only applied to banks so that we get revenues from them. And between now and 2021 the bank levy will bring in €750m."

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