Budget 2018 ‘the ultimate admission of political inertia’ – McDonald
Speaking in the Dáil today, Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD accused the Government with the support of Fianna Fáil and the coalition Independents of deliberately thwarting the ambition of an entire generation.
The Dublin Central TD said:
“If yesterday was good news, heaven protect us when it’s bad. Budget 2018 is the ultimate admission of political inertia, and this inertia will cost the state and its people dearly for generations to come. Fine Gael not only tolerates the fundamental fractures in our society it actively seeks to normalise these deep inequalities such as family homelessness or endless hospital waiting lists. They are deliberately thwarting the ambition of an entire generation. The social cost; emotionally, morally and financially to the state will be felt for decades to come.
“This government is rudderless; it has no vision or ambition for Ireland or its people. The reality is a couple of extra quid a week in a workers pocket will be of little benefit but the €250m lost to the exchequer could have gone towards increasing the affordable housing stock and halving the cost of fulltime childcare for parents making a real difference to people’s lives.
“Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael sat around a table in advance of Budget day and decided that they would not build a single additional social or affordable home in 2018 - and that the health system should at best standstill in 2018. The Independents in government endorsed this decision. How can this be described as delivering for people across the island as Fianna Fáil have so boldly stated?
“The cut and paste job attributed to mental health in both the Budget and Fianna Fáil’s fake budget submission is absolutely unforgivable. It demonstrates how out of touch Government is with services users and providers. The expenditure ceiling for mental health confirms that the additional spending falls far short of the additional €35m promised for 2018.
“Childcare is another critical infrastructural area that government merely tinkered around the edges of, a sector that requires a long-term commitment to fundamental change. Sinn Féin’s fully costed alternative budget would if implemented halve the cost of full time care for parents, increase support for community providers and improves wages and conditions for workers in the system.
“There was little in the budget for women. There was another nod to gender and equality proofing of budgets with no deliverables attached or an equality statement. Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil set their face against restoring the pre-2012 pension bands, a move that would have helped to address gender discrimination within the state pension system.
“Equal societies are a prosperous society; that’s what all the evidence tells us.”