Stephen Donnelly 'deeply disappointed' to see Government's pursuit of 'eroding the tax base'

The Social Democrats co-founder says we likely have "the most right-wing Government the country's ever had"

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A co-founder of the Social Democrats says he finds it 'deeply disappointing' that the new Government is looking to "erode the tax base".

Stephen Donnelly, who is a TD for Wicklow, says almost everybody he spoke to during the election campaign was in favour of investment in services over cutting taxes.

He says that Government pledges, such as plans to abolish USC and take down inheritance tax, will create significant challenges when it comes to improving infrastructure and services.

Deputy Donnelly told Pat Kenny that "the most disappointing thing here, [is that] we have I'm guessing the most right-wing Government the country has ever had. Every Cabinet minister, bar Katherine Zappone, is either Fine Gael or ex-Fine Gael. It's a very conservative Cabinet.

"I think the thing we probably got most right in the election was to take a stand and say 'leave the tax base alone'. We really need the money, we need to invest, we need those guards, we need those teachers, we need broadband, we need better roads, we need all the infrastructre," he argued.

He suggested that when knocking on doors in Wicklow during the election campaign, he encountered only one person who was in favour of tax cuts over investing in services. "Everyone else I spoke to said, 'you know what - leave the tax base alone'," he added.

However, he also welcomed some of the proposals in the Programme for Government, such as the reduction of class sizes and long-term health planning. "Individualised budgets for disabilities jumped out at me - that's fantastic," he said.

He also suggested that the new opportunities for the Opposition to go directly to Government with support for new legislation is "really exciting. I don't know that that's ever happened before".