Fianna Fáil to focus on carbon taxes and landlord taxes in Budget talks with Finance Minister

Carbon taxes, the first-time buyer's grant and landlord taxes will be on the agenda when Fianna Fáil meets the Finance Minister for their first budget discussion tomorrow.

Fianna Fáil to focus on carbon taxes and landlord taxes in Budget talks with Finance Minister

Carbon taxes, the first-time buyer's grant and landlord taxes will be on the agenda when Fianna Fáil meets the Finance Minister for their first budget discussion tomorrow.

Paschal Donohoe will sit down with Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath and public expenditure spokesman Barry Cowen after the party discussed its budget targets at its think-in today.

Both sides have already been involved in tit-for-tat exchanges ahead of next month's budget with Fine Gael launching an attack on the opposition party for failing to outline how it will fund its €4.35bn proposals.

However, today Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin hit back at the Government accusing it of engaging in "dark arts" in putting together "fraudulent" budgets every year.

At his party's get-together in Gorey, Co Wexford, Mr Martin said: "We are saying that the budget has been fraudulent for the last three years."

He said he would not be surprised if there is overspending in the health sector again next year as the Government has failed to provide adequate funds every year.

Mr Martin said: "We have shocking waiting lists for children awaiting assessment of need, which is their legal entitlement, in terms of assessing issues they may have and then providing an intervention programme from the various therapies that they will require. This is going on for quite some time now."

"Basically every year the dark art of the health service budget gets agreed, but money is withheld and no one's planning ahead, the health service can't plan ahead. The result is we have this stop-start approach to medical cards, for example.

"Money is held back and it's just a very unsatisfactory situation for patients. I don't think we can go on. The government is currently blazing ahead and ignoring the genuine plight of many people in these circumstances."

However, Fianna Fáil sources have indicated that tomorrow's meeting will be a "listening process" and while the party is confident it will be given some sweeteners from Mr Donohoe it knows there are little gains to be made given the fact that it has already agreed to facilitate another Fine Gael budget.

"When you have given a commitment that you are going to let a budget through you only have a certain amount of clout," one senior Fianna Fáil member said.

Fianna Fáil TDs and senators were briefed by both Mr Cowen and Mr McGrath yesterday. However, some voiced concerns around the introduction of a carbon tax, especially for those living along the border.

Fianna Fáil will support the retention of the help-to-buy scheme but is adamant Fine Gael must find the money to fund it and the party agrees the threshold may have to be altered.

The party also wants to see tax changes for large commercial landlords such as Ires Reit.

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