Speaking from Leinster House Deputy McLellan accused the government parties of being indifferent to the plight of ordinary Irish people.
Deputy McLellan said: “It’s not as if the Government didn’t have choices. It could have decided to introduce measures that would kick start the economy: given hope to the quarter of a million people who are out of work, stimulated employment growth and moved the country away from the abyss of economic ruin.
“Instead the Fine Gael/Labour coalition chose to continue with their failed policies of austerity by introducing even more regressive cuts, particularly in relation to women and children. In offering up the most vulnerable in society in the interest of maintaining the status quo the government demonstrated yet again its commitment to protecting the well off at the expense of the rest of the population.
Labour’s inability or unwillingness to protect workers from the worst excesses of Fine Gael’s neo liberal economic policies speaks volumes about how comfortable and seduced it has become with being in power.
How can it stand over the decision to tax maternity benefit and to reduce jobseekers benefit by three months, stand over a decision to cut child benefit and to reduce the back to school clothing and footwear allowance for young children?
Sinn Fein’s alternative budget document Making the Right Choices shows that it is possible to produce a budget that will makes a difference to the state’s finances and to people’s lives.
Sinn Fein would have protected Child Benefit. We would end waste in public spending. We would protect health, education, vital frontline services and welfare payments.
We would halt the flow of taxpayer’s money into banks and work for an all-island solution to the economic crisis.
Sinn Fein’s alternative budget shows clearly that the exchequer deficit can be tackled without targeting families and public services or preventing the creation of jobs.