Wednesday, 22 May 1974
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Brennan: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will make a statement in relation to the call at a recent management conference for a new philosophy of private enterprise; and if he will place on the record of the House the purport and tenor of the feedback received from industry in relation to the Government's proposals for capital taxation.
Mr. Keating: With regard to the first part of the question, the Deputy's reference is not specific but if he is referring to the conference last month in Killarney I am aware that some speakers dealt with aspects of the social responsibility of private enterprise. This idea can hardly have come as a surprise to the Deputy as the Government Statement of Intent, published 7th February, 1973, stated our aim to make Ireland into a modern progressive society based on social justice.
As to the second part of the question, responsibility for taxation proposals rests primarily with the Minister for Finance. The views of the Confederation of Irish Industry on these proposals have been conveyed to him and also to me but as these views have already been publicised I see no need to re-state them here.
Mr. Brennan: The Minister surely is aware—he referred to the vagueness of the first part of my question— that I am referring to the opening address at the IMI Conference in Killarney recently where the chairman pointed out the uncertainty which exists at present in regard to private enterprise and the absolute schizophrenia which is bedevilling society as to whether we are going to be a private enterprise or a doctrinaire socialist state in future and this certainly is not creating a climate——
Mr. Brennan: ——that is conducive to industrial development and will the Minister not agree that  arising out of his own background as a doctrinaire socialist our industrialists and those who would be potential investors——
Mr. Brennan: I am asking whether the Minister, in view of that background, does not consider it absolutely essential to allay the uncertainty which exists and which has not been dispelled by anything the Minister has done in recent times?
Mr. Keating: As the Deputy will be aware, I have daily and intimate contacts with Irish industry and I am not aware of any such uncertainty. This economy, as it has been for a very long time, and as I understand was central to the policy on which Fianna Fáil originally came to power, is a mixed economy—that is understood—with a balance of private interest and public interest. Irish industry understands that very well and the response of indigenous Irish industry and of overseas investors in the last 14 months, while I have been in this Department, indicates they understand it perfectly well. They are satisfied with the industrial and investment environment in this country and they have not any of the sort of uncertainty the Deputy is seeking to stir up.
Mr. Brennan: Would the Minister not agree that statements frequently made in this House and outside it which almost give a dirty ring to the words “private enterprise” are doing no good? We are on the one hand engaging in a socialist economy and on the other attempting to generate more wealth from private enterprise.
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