Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD in the first Leaders Questions of the new Dáil term challenged the Taoiseach to commit to reducing the €3.1 billion budget adjustment that is planned for Budget 2014.
Speaking afterward Teachta Adams criticised the Taoiseach’s refusal to clarify the government’s approach to the budget adjustment.
The Sinn Féin leader said that ‘austerity is not working’ and accused the government of implementing a succession of budgets that have ‘failed the fairness test’ and has failed the economy.
Teachta Adams said:
“This will be the seventh austerity budget under the Fianna Fáil government and this Fine Gael /Labour coalition. The cumulative and damaging impact of these on families, communities and the economy has been colossal.
“Austerity is not working for lower and middle income families or communities. Child benefit has been cut; carers and citizens with disabilities have seen their allowances slashed; and a whole range of stealth taxes have been introduced. And the government has failed to properly address the issue of homeowners in mortgage distress.
“It has failed the economy which has stagnated and delivered increased emigration, continued high unemployment increased poverty and debt.
“The Government’s Budgets and policies have all failed the test of time. They have been unfair and undermined the economy. Yet the government fails to countenance change, refuses to equality proof its proposals or safeguard citizens who can least afford more cuts and new taxes.
“The Taoiseach has said that October’s budget will be tough. But tough for who? Sinn Féin recognises the importance of this state emerging from the bailout on time. However the objective must be about creating growth, tackling unemployment and supporting our people. To date the government has failed on these measures.”