Public policy centre

Welcome to Chartered Accountants Ireland’s public policy centre.

We use our research to inform the public policy debate both nationally and internationally.


Counting continues across the EU today in the European Parliament elections and the results so far reflect a boost for Green and far right parties with centrist groups suffering.   With counting reaching a conclusion in the UK, Nigel Farage’s new pro-Brexit Party is the big winner so far in the European Parliament elections taking around 40 percent of the vote, followed closely by the pro-European Liberal Democrats.  It was a difficult election for the Conservative and Labour parties with the Tories taking less than 10 percent of the vote; its lowest result since 1832.  With both pro and anti-Brexit parties topping the polls in the UK, these results might be a reflection of just how tight a second Brexit referendum result could be. In Ireland counting continues today and we will provide an analysis of the results in Friday’s eNews.   Across the EU, after voter decline in recent years, it’s being reported that turnout is the highest in 20 years.  So far, the results look as though the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) and centre-left Socialists and Democrats (the S&D) parties in the Parliament have lost their combined majority as Greens, liberals and nationalists see an increase in support.  It’s expected that pro-EU parties will still hold a majority of seats, despite the rise in support for populist and far-right parties.

May 27, 2019

This week we take a look at the candidates that are putting themselves forward for the 2019 elections in the North and South of Ireland.  We also look at voter turnout for the past elections and the results of the last elections which took place in 2014. Candidates in Northern Ireland 11 candidates in total   Jim Allister (Traditional Unionist Voice) Martina Anderson (Sinn Féin); Clare Bailey (Green Party Northern Ireland) Amandeep Singh Bhogal (Conservative) Diane Dodds (DUP) Colum Eastwood (SDLP) Robert Hill (UKIP) Danny Kennedy (UUP) Naomi Long (Alliance) Neil McCann (Independent) Jane Morrice (Independent) Seats 3 seats must be filled in Northern Ireland. Outgoing MEPs Martina Anderson (Sinn Féin) Dianne Dodds (DUP) Jim Nicholson (UUP) 2014 results Martina Anderson (SF) topped the poll in the 2014 elections with over 25 percent of the vote and was the only candidate elected on the first count.  Diane Dodds finished second in 2014 with almost 21 percent of the votes.  Both are up for re-election. Turnout patterns Turnout in Northern Ireland to vote in the European Parliament elections has been around the 50 percent mark typically with 52 percent in 2014 (635,927 voters), 43 percent in 2009 and 52 percent in 2004. Republic of Ireland Dublin Constituency 19 candidates in total:  Barry Andrews (Fianna Fáil)  Lynn Boylan (Sinn Féin)  Gillian Brien (People Before Profit) Ciarán Cuffe (Green Party) Clare Daly (Independents4Change) Mark Durkan (Fine Gael) Frances Fitzgerald (Fine Gael) Gary Gannon (Social Democrats) Ben Gilroy (Independent) Rita Harrold (Solidarity) Alice-Mary Higgins (Independent) Hermann Kelly (Independent) Tony Bosco Lowth (Independent) Aisling McNiffe (Independent) Mark Mullan (Independent) Eamonn Murphy (Independent) Gemma O'Doherty (Independent) Éilis Ryan (The Workers' Party) Alex White (Labour) 2019 sees a record number of candidates vying for seats in the Dublin Constituency. There were 12 candidates in 2014 and 10 in 2009. Seats 3 seats will be filled immediately and the fourth elected MEP will not take their seat until the UK leaves the EU. Outgoing MEPs Lynn Boylan (Sinn Féin) Nessa Childers (Independent) Brian Hayes (Fine Gael) Both Nessa Childers and Brian Hayes are retiring.  Turnout patterns and results Turnout has fallen in recent years in the Dublin Constituency with just under 53 percent of voters turning out in 2004, almost 51 percent in 2009 and just under 44 percent in 2014.     Lynn Boylan topped the polls in 2014 with just under 24 percent of the votes, followed by Nessa Childers on 10 percent. South Constituency There are 23 candidates in total: Allan Brennan (Independent) Malcolm Byrne (Fianna Fáil) Dolores Cahill (Independent) Deirdre Clune (Fine Gael) Andrew Doyle (Fine Gael) Paddy Fitzgerald (Independent) Breda Patricia Gardner (Independent) Theresa Heaney (Independent) Billy Kelleher (Fianna Fáil) Seán Kelly(Fine Gael) Peter Madden (Independent) Liam Minehan (Independent) Liadh Ní Riada (Sinn Féin) Sheila Nunan (Labour Party) Diarmuid O'Flynn (Independent) Peter O'Loughlin (Identity Ireland) Grace O'Sullivan (Green Party) Walter Ryan-Purcell (Independent) Maurice Joseph Sexton (Independent) Jan Van De Ven (Direct Democracy Ireland) Adrienne Wallace (Solidarity-People Before Profit) Mick Wallace (Independents 4 Change) Colleen Worthington (Independent) Seats 4 seats will be filled immediately and the fifth elected candidate will only take their seat when the UK leaves the EU. Outgoing MEPs Deirdre Clune (Fine Gael) Brian Crowley (Fianna Fáil) Sean Kelly (Fine Gael) Liadh Ní Riada (Sinn Féin) Three of the four sitting MEPs have put their names forward again with the exception of Brian Crowley. Turnout patterns and results Turnout in 2014 was 55.6 percent, just over 59 percent in 2009 and 62 percent in 2004.   Outgoing MEP Brian Crowley topped the polls in 2014 with Liadh ni Riada finishing second. Midlands North West Constituency 17 candidates in total: Cyril Brennan (People Before Profit) Matt Carthy (Sinn Féin) Peter Casey (Independent) Luke 'Ming' Flanagan (Independent) Patrick Greene (Direct Democracy Ireland) Dominic Hannigan (Labour) Fidelma Healy Eames (Independent) Dilip Mahapatra (Independent) Mairead McGuinness (Fine Gael) Saoirse McHugh (Green Party) James Miller (Independent) Diarmaid Mulcahy (Independent) Olive O'Connor (Independent) Michael O'Dowd (Renua Ireland) Anne Rabbitte (Fianna Fáil) Brendan Smith (Fianna Fáil) Maria Walsh (Fine Gael) Seats There are four seats to be filled in this constituency. Outgoing MEPs Matt Carthy (Sinn Féin) Luke 'Ming' Flanagan (Independent) Marian Harkin (Independent) Mairead McGuinness (Fine Gael) Marian Harkin is the only one of the outgoing MEPs not up for re-election, having served since 2004. Turnout patterns and results Turnout has fallen over the past few years in this constituency from 63 percent in both 2004 and 2009 to 55 percent in 2014. Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan topped the polls in 2014 with over 19 percent of the votes, followed by Mairead McGuinness with 14.2 percent. Voting takes place on Thursday 23 May in Northern Ireland and Friday 24 May in the Republic of Ireland.  Voting takes place across the EU from the 23 – 26 May.   

May 16, 2019

The UK look set to take part in the European Parliament elections and this means that they will return as many as 73 MEPs to Europe. This week we look at the tax policies contained in the political manifestos of some of the parties in the Parliament. Northern Ireland elections Voters will choose 73 MEPs from 12 multi-member regional constituencies in the UK. Three MEPs will be elected to represent Northern Ireland. There are 11 candidates in total in Northern Ireland representing 10 different parties.  You can read more about the candidates in Northern Ireland here. Republic of Ireland elections We covered this last month but a reminder that there are three constituencies in the South.  17 candidates will contest 4 seats in the Midlands-North-West constituency.  23 candidates will fight for 5 seats in the South constituency (the fifth elected MEP will not take their seat until the UK leaves the EU) while there will be 4 seats (the fourth elected MEP will remain in reserve until the UK leaves the EU) from 19 candidates in the Dublin constituency. Tax policies of the European parties Although domestic tax matters are generally a matter for individual member states and outside the remit of the European Parliament, MEPs can influence the European approach. To that end all of the parties have a tax agenda included in their manifestos. Digital tax measures, taxing everyone fairly, and clamping down on tax evasion and avoidance by large corporations seem to be the common tax themes emerging from many of the European parties.  It’s important to remember that the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) and the European Council do regularly debate tax matters and EU tax policy requires unanimity among member states on any EU tax proposals. The EPP – Group of the European People’s Party The EPP, a large centre-right party, would like to see everyone taxed fairly. It wants to protect the fairness and transparency of the European tax system by working closely with member states and the OECD to fight tax evasion and eliminate tax havens. The party wants to stop large corporations getting tax breaks and taking advantage of loopholes that are not available to every taxpayer. The party would like to introduce a Digital Fair Tax and ensure that digital companies pay a fair share in financing Europe’s digital infrastructure. Read the party’s manifesto. The S&D – Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament The S&D, a centre-left party, will continue its fight against tax evasion, tax avoidance and aggressive tax planning and proposes that profits are taxed where they are generated.   The party supports a common European approach to ensure a proper level of effective taxation. The party believes that every citizen and every company must make a fair contribution to society by respecting their tax obligations. In terms of the environment, the party wants the EU to become a leader in renewable energies and become climate-neutral by 2050.  This means that CO2 emissions must be reduced to a minimum and any remaining CO2 emissions are compensated with climate protection measures. The party believes that CO2 emissions should be taxed across the EU fairly. People who pollute should pay more taxes.  Read the party’s manifesto. ALDE – Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe The only tax policy measures contained within centrist party ALDE’s manifesto relate to protecting the environment.   The party wants the EU to become a carbon neutral economy and wants a single European energy market to be completed.  The party wants to see an end of the obsolete fuel tax exemptions for international aviation by updating the Chicago Convention.  The Convention currently allows all aviation fuel used in Europe to be tax exempt.   The Convention does not prohibit the taxation of aviation fuel; rather it disallows the taxation of fuel already on board an arriving aircraft. Read the party’s manifesto. The European Greens The Greens, a centre-left party believe that everybody must pay their fair share in taxes because corporate tax evasion and corporate tax avoidance undermine democracy. The party pledges to develop tax regimes that do not continue to privilege large multinational corporations and wealthy individuals. It also wants to see an end to unfair tax competition between member states.  The party wants to see a strong common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB) for large companies and a minimum corporate tax rate.  It believes that these measures would reduce harmful competition between Member States. The party wants to introduce a digital tax in Europe as well as managing taxation on crypto currencies. It wants to introduce stronger requirements for multinational companies to report publicly where they pay taxes.  The party also wants Europe to require Member States to raise taxes on fossil fuels and also to consider environmental taxes on aviation travel and plastics at European level. Read the party’s manifesto. Next week we will look in more detail at the candidates in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

May 09, 2019

Pensions in Ireland - A responsible way forward

A significant majority of Chartered Accountants are worried about Ireland's pension deficit and favour pension auto-enrolment to guard against poverty in retirement.

In its research report, Chartered Accountants Ireland examines the challenge of an ageing population in Ireland, the reasons that some private sector workers do not provide for their pensions and also looks at a number of different pension funding models used in other countries.

Chartered Accountants Ireland has over 26,000 members working in every sector on the island of Ireland, and is uniquely placed to identify the challenges that the pension deficit will bring.

Read our report on the PDF below.

CTA - Pensions in Ireland-min
NEWS BODY - Pensions in Ireland A responsible way forward-min

Seminar : Pensions under the spotlight
Chartered Accountants Ireland’s members engaged in a comprehensive discussion on the private pension crisis in Ireland at a seminar with Institute President Shauna Greely held in Dublin last Tuesday evening (6 March 2018). 

The event also saw the formal launch of the Institute’s report Pensions in Ireland: A responsible way forward which advocates auto-enrolment. View photos from the event >>>