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Leo Varadkar issues a clarification

February 5th, 2010 · 8 Comments · Irish Politics, Social Policy

Someone’s been getting a bit of flack for his comments last week, but is Leo blaming it on the reporting or the reading of the reporting or misreading? Note the last line – all his own work!

From today’s Irish Times

Madam, – Last week I spoke in the Dáil on the Civil Partnership Bill during which I addressed tax implications that may arise from the introduction of civil partnership. I drew attention to the fact that the tax system can require a single person to pay considerably more tax than a married couple that earns more, despite the high cost of living alone.

I pointed out that this tax advantage is also given to married couples with no dependent children and even married people who do not live together. The major beneficiaries of this anomaly are wealthy couples with no dependants.

I said this was unjust and that extending the tax benefits of marriage to civil partners would result in further disadvantageous treatment for singles. This aspect of my speech was picked up in an article on Page 6 (January 28th).

I went on to argue that the State should instead, give the tax benefit to the “family unit? to recognise the cost of raising children and the social good of family life. In fact, the tax system barely recognises families at all and only does so through a special tax credit for families headed by a single parent and a small credit for the stay-at-home spouse. This was picked up on Page 8 by another reporter.

Unfortunately, some stay-at-home parents read the article on Page 6 but not on Page 8 and got the wrong end of the stick, totally. I wish to have the matter clarified and to restate my support for favourable treatment for families. I do not, however, believe that single people should be treated less favourably than married couples or civil partners where there are no dependent children involved. These views are my own. – Yours, etc,

LEO VARADKAR TD,

Leinster House,

Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Update

Thanks to Joe in the comments for showing us this letter in the Independent. I think Jedward and Vanilla Ice’s soon to be number 1 maybe rather apt here.

I AM not sexist and I fully appreciate that being a mother is a full-time job. Jane Dignam (Letters, January 30) has got the wrong end of the stick.

Clearly, she neither heard nor read my speech. Nor did she bother to contact me to check the facts. Rather, her letter is a reaction to an article in another paper, which has since been clarified.

I wish to re-state my support for the favourable treatment of stay-at-home spouses with dependent children.

However, I do not believe that single people should be treated less favourably than married couples where there are no dependent children involved — a situation which will be exacerbated if the taxation advantages of marriage are extended to civil partners.

Civil partnership was the topic of debate. These views are my own.

I sincerely hope that Ms Dignam raises her children to be more dispassionate and discerning than she is.

I highly recommend that she reads the Irish Independent, instead of the other paper.

Leo Varadkar TD

Dublin 2

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