Rainy Day Fund Bill proposals a recipe for normalising housing and health crises - Pearse Doherty TD
Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said the Draft Heads of Bill for the Rainy Day Fund are a recipe for a continuing normalisation of the crises in health and housing.
He said the draft proposal showed how funds available to the State would legally have to be transferred to the Fund each year until 2021 but would be very difficult to get access to.
“The proposals in the Heads of Bill received by the Finance Committee confirm my worst fears that the Rainy Day Fund is a recipe for continuing underinvestment.
"The 10,000 people in emergency accommodation and the 707,000 people on waiting lists do not need a Rainy Day Fund - they need investment now.
"It is difficult to believe that the government and Fianna Fail think moving €500m into a fund for the next three years makes any sense given the challenges facing us.
"The alternative is to deal with the storms that we currently face - a health and housing crisis that is out of control and by investing in our capital infrastructure, which even under the National Development will still be one of the lowest investment rates per GDP in Europe.
"Under the Draft Bill the Minister of the day will be forced to put €500m into the fund each year until 2021 as long as the Medium Term Objective of a balanced budget has been met.
"No matter how much worse the crises facing us gets, no matter how many more people are made homeless or how much longer the waiting lists grow - the Rainy Day Fund comes first under the draft legislation.
"Underinvestment will be hard wired into law. This is about the permanent slimming down of public services.
"The conditions for drawing down the fund are extremely tight but that one of the conditions is to 'prevent potential serious damage to the financial system in the State' and anything other than a future bank bailout.
"This initiative is part of a concerted effort to downplay the social emergencies facing the country.
"It is obscene that legally the Rainy Day Fund comes before health or housing. This fund should be seen for what it is part of an agenda to normalise the health and housing crisis."