Following a meeting with representatives of the Troika today, Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD said the Troika were unambiguous on the fact that the harsh unfair budget just introduced by this government came squarely from the government.
Joined by colleagues Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Mary Lou McDonald, the Sinn Féin team highlighted their concerns surrounding the government’s lack of job creation, unfair budget measures, lack of progress on mortgage distress and failure to secure a legacy debt deal as well as issues pertaining to the health budget, social welfare rates and Croke Park II.
Deputy Doherty said:
“In this, the ninth review by the Troika, we have again been able to engage constructively with representatives of the Troika institutions and impress upon them the harsh reality faced by Irish people, which the government is content to gloss over.
“When confronted with the unfair decisions made in the last budget, particularly the property tax, cuts to the health budget and the continued targeting of social welfare recipients, the Troika is unambiguous. They say they will not accept responsibility for these measures, that the government chooses where and how to cut and unfair decisions lie squarely with the government.
“This was particularly in evidence when the Troika said they agreed with the long held Sinn Féin positions of tackling consultants pay, effectively dealing with the drugs bill and ending the piggybacking of the private health sector on the public health budget. Minister Reilly tries to present unfair health decisions as outcomes of Troika engagements but this is clearly not the case. On social welfare too, they agreed that the Irish system is generally comparable with other states, yet the government continues to target social welfare recipients, pushing them into poverty.
“On a day when the government made an announcement lauding itself on targets met in its jobs plan, we also raised the real numbers on job creation which are in the negative. The only target not met by the government’s action plan on jobs has been the actual creation of jobs. It began as and it continues to be a plan that is long on spin but short on substance.
“On the issue of legacy debt, particularly the promissory notes, we raised the necessity for Ireland to secure a deal on this debt. It was unclear from the meeting whether any debt deal will have a positive effect on next year’s budgetary position, as it may be seen as a windfall which the Irish Government must use to write off wider debt. This is of huge concern and if it transpires will be met with huge anger by people who have been affected so badly by austerity.
“Finally, we are satisfied that they also believe more needs to be done on the mortgage crisis. They accept that the banks must move away from interest only repayments to a system where some principle can be made, which may in some cases require debt write down.” ENDS