Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said he aims to reduce taxes to encourage the return of emigrants.

Speaking at the MacGill Summer school on Friday, where several dozen anti-water charge protesters gathered ahead of his address, the Taoiseach said the tax rate was “too high a rate and kicks in too early.” 

Kenny said he plans to cut the 7 percent rate of Universal Social Charge in the forthcoming budget, the Irish Times reports.

“In doing so, we will bring down the marginal rate of tax paid by people earning less than €70,000 to less than 50 per cent.”

“You have to have a stepped approach to this. That makes it more difficult for our sons and daughters to come home if they want to because they’ll say ‘why should I? Why should I go back if I’m going to get screwed for tax here?’”

Kenny said he wanted 2016 to be “our own year of family reunification, where our children come home at last from Melbourne or London or New York.”

Referencing the theme of this years program, ‘Ireland at the Crossroads,’ Taoiseach said Ireland was at a political crossroads and people could choose one of two roads: the road to economic recovery or the road “that’s maybe unmined or unmapped and certainly untested”, a road that “gambled the recovery”.

Kenny said he believed the next general election would be “like the Grand National” with “lot of runners and riders.”

“I hope we don’t end up with a Tower of Babel in respect of Independents and nobody can get anything done.”
Speaking at a panel later in the evening, Catherine Murphy TD said a “culture of excessive secrecy” pervaded politics.

“It is only after the event that we get a glimpse of a decision or set of decisions that on too many occasions favour those in the know; those with connections and those with money. It is quite destructive and indeed highly offensive to the vast majority of people.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said he was concerned that a poor policy on migration seemed to be “giving rise for the first time in Irish society to a political party focusing on the single issue of immigration.”

Taoiseach Enda KennyLeah Farrell/ Photocall Ireland