A debate on the economy needs to be based on the facts. We can see clearly what the facts are. While we may differ in our opinions, we must have some level of shared understanding of the facts. I am less than hopeful in that regard when I hear some of the statements made in the Seanad and elsewhere as to what the facts really are.
What the Taoiseach said yesterday shows that he is persisting in the sham and untruth that our economic difficulties at the moment are wholly based on the international situation. He again said in the Dáil yesterday that tax revenues were down because of the international situation. Tax revenues are not down because of the international situation. Tax revenue is down and will continue to be down because of the collapse in the holy grail of the construction industry into which so much trust was placed by his colleagues and him in recent years. That is not an opinion; it is a fact. I raised this matter last week and some colleagues on the government side described it as an idiotic idea. It is not an idiotic idea because it is factual to point to the reality that our economic difficulties are almost wholly domestically generated.
We had a difficulty during the Lisbon treaty referendum campaign, when certain Ministers and others said they had not read the treaty. I ask Ministers and Members of this House to read the documentation available to them before the debate next week. I ask them to read the ESRI medium-term review, which makes clear that these difficulties are domestically generated. They are not based on what is happening internationally. If colleagues read the information first, we can then have the facts-led debate.