Sinn Féin Social Protection spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh has accused the minister of engaging in denial and deception in relation to the Social Welfare Bill.
During the course of his speech in the Dáil today Deputy Ó Snodaigh said the bill is a litany of cuts from the cradle to the grave.
“Denial and deception, it’s becoming the Minister’s PR modus operandi. It’s not a cut you say – we are just discontinuing one rate and introducing a new lower one. It’s not a cut you say – existing recipients aren’t affected they just won’t get their anticipated increase. It’s not a core payment because it isn’t paid weekly. It’s not a cut you say – it’s a standardisation.
“If you are that mortified about making all these cuts then the answer is not in superficial spin, just don’t proceed with them.
“In Budget 2010 Fianna Fáil cut dole payments for the under 25s. Fine Gael and the Labour Party voted against the proposal arguing vociferously, along with Sinn Féin, that it does nothing to address the shortage of jobs, there are nowhere near enough places in education and training and it will simply drive even more young people to emigrate.
“Flash forward to Budget 2014 and this time Fine Gael and the Labour Party are cutting the dole for young jobseekers even further. And, alongside Sinn Féin, Fianna Fail are arguing against the measure they once favoured finally realising that it inflicts extreme hardship.
We are seeing conversions on the road to AND from Damascus.
“The one steady constant throughout all this betrayal and opportunism has been my party. At one time or another you were all on Sinn Féin’s side on this. I urge you to bow to our shared logic on this one Minister. The measure still does nothing to address the shortage of jobs, there are still nowhere near enough places in education and training and it will heighten the emigration of our young. These cuts are wrong, you believed this once and in your heart of hearts you know this is still the case.
“When people voted for the Labour Party they voted to protect social welfare payments. They voted to tackle fuel poverty and cherish carers. You have done neither. The Sinn Féin Alternative Budget which was fully costed demonstrated that it was possible for your to do both. “