Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has accused government senators of feigning concern on issues such as homelessness and poverty in the pre-Christmas period, whist supporting government policy that engenders such hardship.
Speaking in the Seanad today, Senator Ó Clochartaigh said:
Senators in the pre-Christmas period are feigning concern on many issues
including the number of people who are homeless, of those needing supports from
charities, helplines and social services.
“I reminded government Senators today that much of the hardship is due to successive cuts to budgets that they have fully endorsed.
“I fully agree that the number of people homeless in Ireland is unacceptable, that having 90,000 people waiting on housing lists is unacceptable, that the increased dependence on voluntary organisations as St. Vincent De Paul, Simon, and many others is very worrying and that services like the Samaritans are doing incredible work in supporting people in difficult circumstances. But it smacks of hypocrisy of the highest order when government Senators express their concern in the Seanad when they opposed measures Sinn Féin and others have put forward to alleviate these very difficult situations for people.
“We brought forward legislation this year to have Equality Budgeting measures taken into account when budgets are being allocated which was opposed by the government. We sought to have inability to pay clauses and poverty proofing measures included in legislation on many occasions which the government turned down. We put forward proposals in the run up to the budget to alleviate the pressures on low and middle income families which were roundly rejected. Instead this administration of Fine Gael and Labour representatives has continued the austerity economics which were championed by Fianna Fáil and the Greens when in government.
“The political amnesia now of government Senators is disingenuous to say the least, as they play to the media gallery with their concern for citizens in the run up to Christmas whilst having supported the cuts to vital funding which could have actually made a real difference.”