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Tuesday, 16th April 2024
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Election outcome best, with Ahern rated top politician of the last 20 years Back  
FINANCE Magazine readers are reasonably contented with the outcome of the election, and rank Bertie Ahern as the country's top politician over the past 20 years, and his party, best for representing the interests of the financial services sector (followed by the PDs), despite their strong belief that the remittance and PRSI moves on personal tax were retrograde, and remain the single worst thing the Government has done in the past twenty years. The results come as the outcome of a special poll conducted for the 20th anniversary of Finance.

However, if the personal tax moves were bad - and there is clear agreement that they were - and remains a bitter pill that should be reversed, if possible, there is much that Finance readers are pleased about when it comes to Government policy.

They rate corporation tax as the biggest factor behind Ireland's continued attractiveness as a financial centre, although the skills being built up by the workforce are rated second, followed by a 'business friendly Government'.

Neither have they penalised the politicians behind the retrograde moves. The remittance tax moves have been credited to Bertie Ahern and Finance Minister Brian Cowen. Yet Ahern emerges as Ireland's top politician over the past twenty years, with over a third of mentions, while relative newcomer Cowen makes the list of top ten politicians affecting the welfare of financial services in Ireland over the past 20 years.

Second most noted politician in the poll is Charlie McCreevy, with 22 p.c of mentions, which reflects his continued star rating amongst Ireland's financial community, previously noted in a Finance survey in September 2004, when, out of a list of the then 23 Ministers of Finance, dating from the first, Michael Collins, (April 1919 to August 1922), he was voted as 'Ireland's Best Ever Minister for Finance'. (See: http://www.finance-magazine.com/political_polls.php). Clearly McCreevy, too, has been forgiven his role in his retrograde step of uncapping employer PRSI contributions, which continue to be a source of dissatisfaction in the financial services industry and other internationally trading sectors.

The election result is considered satisfactory, with the actual outcome, of an FF/Green/PD Coalition supported by independents, rated the most preferable outcome (rated at 7.6 out of 10) by readers. Readers have backed the result on stability grounds, while clearly harbouring concerns about the Green element in the coalition, based on pre-election statements by them on financial services. The second most favoured outcome of possible election combinations was a FF/PD coalition, followed by FF/PD/Independents, followed by FF/FG (6 out of 10), then FF/Labour (5.9), and finally others, including Sinn Fein (3).

'We need a Government that understands and values international financial services as an important contributor to the nation's economy', commented one reader. 'The poor showing of Labour, Greens and Sinn Fein reflects their inability to understand the role of human motivation in wealth creation. They understand their own motivations as regards wealth distribution very well and take for granted those who create wealth', said another. The PDs were rated second best for finance/financial services in the poll, ahead of FG, Labour, the Greens and SF in that order. (For full survey see page 17).

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