Be part of building a new republic

Become a Sinn Féin Online Supporter

Budget 2015

Latest News

Toggle

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has expressed concern at the Minister for Health’s lack of clarity and knowledge of detail in recent Dáil and media appearances.

Teachta Cullinane said that the Minister’s performance has been underwhelming and is undermining confidence in the vaccine rollout.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“The lack of clarity from the Minister for Health is highly disconcerting.

“His lack of knowledge of detail and the lack of clarity in his statements is undermining confidence in the vaccine rollout.

“Commitments were made that we would administer 250,000 vaccines a week this month, but that has been missed. 

“Mass vaccination centres were to be operational this month, but now the Minister is saying they won’t be at full-tilt until June.

“The Minister’s approach displays a lack of urgency and has been very underwhelming.

“There has been a lack of transparency or up-to-date information, and when it is provided, the Minister is not across it.

“When can we expect mass vaccination centres to be fully operational? When will we meet and surpass 250,000 vaccinations a week?

“There seems to be no clear plan and no clear timeframes, when these are the basics you would expect.

“We also need clarity now from the Minister and the HSE on the impact of the recent NIAC decision for the AstraZeneca vaccine on the rollout.

“As NPHET caution about a fourth wave and as restrictions are eased, it is vital that the Minister for Health is on top of the detail and effectively communicating it.

“This vaccine was sold as a gamechanger for the rollout, so it is disappointing to learn how limited its safe application is.

“There needs to be clarity on how this affects targets and how operational plans will be altered to ensure minimal disruption to the rollout.

“There are also many people under and over 60 who will need to be reassured about the safety of their second dose, and that needs to be communicated to them quickly.”

Toggle

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has today called on the Department of Education to put the work in now, to ensure this year’s Summer Provision Programme can support as many children with additional needs as possible.
 
Speaking following today's Oireachtas Education Committee, Teachta Ó Laoghaire said:
 
“Children with additional needs are among those who missed out the most when schools were closed at the start of this year.
 
“Summer Provision is a vitally important programme. Given the difficulties of the last year, it is crucial that this year’s programme is the largest ever. Capacity planning needs to be done now to ensure those who lost out the most are given greater assistance, and to allow them to catch up over the summer months.
 
“At today’s session of the Oireachtas Education Committee, I called on the Department of Education to outline their plans to expand the programme even further this year.
 
“In terms of the DEIS summer programme, we need to go beyond the DEIS schools that have traditionally availed of the summer camps in tackling disadvantage. We should be asking all principals to submit names of children who need an extra bit of help, and we should start that process now, so we can identify interest and capacity required.
 
“One of the biggest obstacles for families is finding tutors to facilitate the programme. I urged the Department to put the work in now, into creating a centralised database of teachers and SNAs who are willing to provide tuition.
 
“This is a simple thing the Department of Education can do, that would make a massive difference to families of children with special educational needs.
 
“In-school summer provision is the largest component of this programme. It is essential that schools get both the resources and adequate time to plan for providing this.
 
“The government also needs to consider how it can incentivise staff to participate, and to resolve the issues from last year in terms of fair and timely pay.
 
“Children with additional needs have missed out hugely in the past year. The work needs to be done now, to make sure that this summer provides an opportunity for all children who need that additional support.”

Toggle

Sinn Féin MLA Jemma Dolan has said the party will oppose attempts by the DAERA Minister to undermine workers’ rights and to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board.

The party’s spokesperson on workers’ rights and employment said:

"The attempts by the DAERA Minister Edwin Poots is yet another attempt by the DUP to undermine workers’ rights and entitlements. 

“The Agricultural Wages Board has guaranteed minimum standards on pay, sick pay and holiday pay.

“This Board has ensured that workers starting out in this sector can be paid a wage above the minimum wage.

“We heard recently that the DUP Leader had not met Trade Unions for over four years, now we are learning that Edwin Poots intends to diminish representation for Workers through the Agricultural Wages Board.

“In response to this my party colleague Declan McAleer has secured an agreement from the DAERA to publish the Equality Impact Assessment and the Rural Needs Assessment which will help to provide further scrutiny on this matter.

“Sinn Féin remains committed to standing up for workers and ensuring that the Minister's plan does not succeed." 

Toggle

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection Claire Kerrane TD has said that Local Employment Services, in their community-based and not-for-profit current form, must be protected.

This comes as the service is set to go out to tender, something which the government insist they are required to do in order to comply with EU procurement rules.

Speaking this morning, Teachta Kerrane said:

“The rollout of JobPath in 2015 signalled a move towards the privatisation of job activation services. Since then, there has been an emphasis on referrals to the JobPath providers, Seetec and Turas Nua, above all other existing schemes, including the Local Employment Service. This preference for JobPath has not gone unnoticed.

“Local Employment Services offer a unique service - not just to those referred to them but, crucially, through their walk-in service. The services provided are person-centred and additional wraparound services are also available. This is a service that we must protect.

“While it is welcome that the Local Employment Service is set to be expanded to parts of the state without such a service, through the first phase of the tendering process, it must be maintained in its current structure. There can be no dismantling of the community and not-for-profit ethos.

“There are legitimate concerns that the Department are moving towards a fully privatised model of job activation - this is not something we support.

"Considering the millions of taxpayers’ money handed over to the JobPath providers for very poor return for sourcing sustainable employment, we cannot allow this privatisation agenda to creep into community services like the Local Employment Services.

“I have met with the Irish Local Development Network and I’ve spoken with some Local Employment Service staff and I intend to meet with a SIPTU representative in the coming days.

“We will vehemently oppose any plans to change how the Local Employment Service is delivered. The service remains cost effective and extremely successful - this cannot be eroded to make room for private companies to line their pockets.”

Toggle

Sinn Féin TD for Cavan/Monaghan Matt Carthy has described the continued determination of EirGrid to proceed with their proposals to develop the North South Interconnector via overhead pylon-supported high voltage powerlines as ‘egotistical & costly’.  

Teachta Carthy said that EirGrid have continually shown ‘complete disdain’ towards communities along the route of the Interconnector.

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture's comments come following an announcement that the Kildare-Meath 400kv line will now be undergrounded, making the North-South Interconnector the only element of EirGrid’s Grid 25 strategy which is intended to be completed using overhead technology.  

Teachta Carthy said:

“The dogged determination of EirGrid to proceed with their plans to overground the North South Interconnector is egotistical and costly.  Their position is causing immense undue stress and release in the local communities affected.

“The Interconnector will face continuing and expensive delays if they proceed with their current intent.  The affected communities across Monaghan, Cavan, Armagh, Tyrone and Meath have clearly demonstrated that they will not accept the imposition of high voltage pylon-supported power-lines, particularly because there is a credible alternative.

“Undergrounding the interconnector is feasible and practical.  This is in evidence once again as EirGrid have announced their Kildare-Meath 400kv line is set to be undergrounded.  It is obvious that EirGrid have learned from their experience with communities along the route of the North South Interconnector, albeit not yet on that actual project.

“The fact that EirGrid have expressed such determination to press ahead with overhead pylons and lines in respect of the North-South Interconnector shows their ongoing disdain for the people of our region.  It appears that their position is driven by ego and arrogance.

“In my view, this project will only ever be completed if the interconnector is undergrounded. If EirGrid refuse to adhere to the principals of public acceptance, deliverability and socio-economic impacts then the government must intervene.  

“Recently, the Taoiseach reportedly informed a Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting that this project will be reviewed.  But, the Ceann Comhairle disallowed parliamentary questions I submitted in this regard to Minister Eamon Ryan, on the basis that they didn’t relate to Government policy.

“Urgent clarification is therefore required from government as to the form, timeframe and terms of reference of this review.  

“As the Dáil returns next week I intend to use every possible opportunity to seek assurances that the communities on the route of the North South Interconnector will finally be listened to”.

Toggle

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Enterprise, Trade, and Employment, Louise O'Reilly TD, has said that there is a need to monitor the current situation for SMEs and to ensure that ‘hidden debt’ does not affect their ability to bounce back to profitability in the medium-term, post-Covid.

Speaking this morning, Teachta O’Reilly said:

“From speaking with many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and family businesses, there is a fear that ‘hidden debt’, such as warehoused tax debts and commercial rent arrears, could hinder their ability to bounce back to profitability when we exit the current crisis.

“Data revealed to me by the Minister for Finance has shown that SMEs have warehoused over €1bn in tax liabilities under the Debt Warehousing Scheme, a support scheme for businesses affected by Covid-19 restrictions.

“This scheme is incredibly important for SMEs, microbusinesses, and family businesses. It has improved short-run cashflow for these businesses, however, the government must ensure that the level of tax debt that is being warehoused does not affect their ability to bounce back to profitability in the medium-term, post-Covid.

“SMEs are the backbone of our economy, especially in terms of employment, so the fact they have warehoused more tax debt than any other sector is a concern. 

“The government needs to look at this specific issue and assess the sort of structures that may need to be put in place for businesses to bounce back, and for people to re-enter employment, as we exit the crisis.

“I know that many businesses have suggested solutions, such as repayment of tax debt over an elongated period or reduced interest rates, which would ease the burden of these tax liabilities and ensure they can bounce back as we exit the Covid crisis.

“However, as is ever the case in these situations, a two-way dialogue between business and the state will inevitably uncover the most workable solution for both parties.

"I would encourage the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade, and Employment, and the Minister for Finance, to begin these conversations immediately.”

Toggle

Writing in An Phoblacht to mark the 23rd anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, Sinn Féin’s National Chairperson Declan Kearney MLA, has said the continuing political instability in the north requires the coordinated intervention of both the British and Irish governments.

He said: 

“The Good Friday Agreement’s 23rd anniversary should underline for both the British and Irish governments their joint responsibility as co guarantors for full implementation of the Agreement.

“The strategic lesson of the political process in the north since 2010 is that when the political and peace processes are taken for granted by the two governments, a context is created within which political instability emerges – and political crisis follows.

“The Tory government’s approach to the north has been characterised by negative mismanagement from 2010.

“The consistent bad faith and bad judgement of all Tory administrations during this period on handling issues from legacy to Brexit has been disastrous for the political process, and the Good Friday, and its successor Agreements. 

“Now the process is once again under huge pressure due to the reckless behaviour of, and lack of positive leadership from, the DUP and political unionism. The inflammatory language from senior unionist politicians and disproportionate influence of unionist extremists has once again resulted in violent street protests, at the same time as a ‘chaos plan’ has been brought into the midst of our political institutions by the DUP.

“The Good Friday Agreement is under renewed assault from those who have always rejected power sharing and the DUP is directly responsible.

“Bellicose rhetoric from DUP politicians about refusing to work north/south processes, blocking implementation of key New Decade, New Approach deal commitments, and demanding the resignation of senior police officers is a wrecker’s charter.

“The DUP’s political vandalism towards power sharing and the Good Friday Agreement framework is untenable and must be challenged by all democrats.”

The Junior Minister stated:

“The gravity of the current situation should not be underestimated and the wreckers should not be indulged any longer.

“This Tory government is not a bystander. It needs to become properly involved at the highest level jointly with the Irish government. ‘Flying in and out’ interventions are the opposite of what is needed.

“Unchanged British policy will only fan the flames of political destruction.

“Both governments should immediately reengage the substantial good will of the United States and European Union, and with their support, now double down on delivering full implementation of the GFA’s promise of proper power sharing, equality, parity of esteem, and inclusion.”

Read Declan Kearney's full blog here: https://www.anphoblacht.com/contents/28077

Toggle

Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald has said businesses should have clarity on dates for reopening.

The party’s economy spokesperson said:

“Since the publication of the Executive’s pathway out of restrictions in March, very good progress has been made on the rollout of the vaccines, while hospital admissions and positives cases have decreased.

“I’ve engaged with businesses from various sectors over the past number of weeks. There is recognition of the need for a steady and cautious approach to reopening to ensure we continue to build on the positive progress made to date.

“As the Executive is formally reviewing the restrictions on Thursday, now is the time to give businesses as much clarity as possible to enable them to plan.

“I am hopeful that the Executive will be able to give businesses including close contact services, non-essential retail and hospitality, indicative dates for reopening.”

Toggle

Sinn Féin President and TD for Dublin Central Mary Lou McDonald has given a cautious welcome to the news that the HSE has paused the decision to remove in-school Speech and Language Services from special schools.

The decision had created huge distress for students, parents and staff at the Holy Family School for the Deaf on the Navan Road, and for special school communities across the state.

Teachta McDonald said:

“While I welcome the confirmation that the HSE have paused this decision, the only acceptable solution is full retention of the in-school service.

"This is the outcome needed to relieve the distress of the school community at Holy Family School for the Deaf and for affected students and parents in schools across Ireland.

“It would be unacceptable for the government to push ahead with a model that sees children lose services that are vital to their progress and their education. The review of the PDS model must recognise how important in-school services are to these children.

“Over the last number of weeks, I have raised my serious concerns about the potential loss of in-school Speech and Language Therapist with An Taoiseach in the Dáil, and with Ministers Anne Rabbitte and Roderic O'Gorman.

“I have met with Olive Hanley, Head of Service for Disability for the HSE in this area, and with Holy Family Principal Eimear O'Rourke to ensure that the voices of students, parents and the school community are heard.

“Students and parents need to be told with absolute certainty that in-school speech and language therapy services will not be removed.

"I will continue to press this issue with the Taoiseach and with the relevant Ministers until the right outcome is achieved.”

Read and share Sinn Féin's Alternative Budget 2015

Overall Balance Sheet

Tax income €1,701.70
Tax Spend -€1,053.00
Adjustment for partial year -€385.00
Savings €231.59
Departmental Spend -€495.29
Budget adjustment €0

Like us on Facebook

In Budget 2015 Sinn Féin will:

Put €800 million back into the pockets of ordinary workers through the abolition of the property tax and by stopping water charges.

Invest an additional €202.6 million in disability services and supports.

Help stop forced emigrationof our young people by restoring the Jobseekers payment for those under 26 over two years.

Invest €1 billion from the Strategic investment Fund to build an additional 6,600 homes over the next 18 months and create 8,000 jobs.

Prioritise investment in health and education to make back to school more affordable and recruit an additional 1,000 nurses and midwives.

Reduce salaries and allowances of high earners in the public sector and Oireachtas.

Tax

Easing the Tax Burden on ordinary families Costing
Save 1.8 million homeowners an average of €278 per annum by abolishing the property tax. Cost €500 million
Don’t introduce water charges. Cost €300 million
Take 296,000 people earning below €17,542 out of the Universal Social Charge. Cost €138 million
Keep 7% exemption USC rate for medical cardholders with an aggregate income below €60,000. Cost €115 million

New Tax Measures

Wealth and Property taxes Costing
Re-introduce the second home charge, increasing it from €200 to €400 per annum. Raises €144 million
Increase CGT to 40%. Raises €116 million
Increase CAT to 40% and introduce a 15% reduction in group thresholds. Raises €112 million
Increase once-off charge for establishing a discretionary trust by 1% and the annual charge from 1% to 1.5%. Raises €0.8 million
Reduce windfall tax to 41% for a period of two years to release land for housing. Raises €0 million
Stamp Duty and Excise duties Costing
Increase stamp duty on share transactions from 1% to 1.1%. Raises €29 million
A 20 cent increase in excise duty on a packet of cigarettes. Raises €29.4 million
Increase betting shop tax to be applied to the customer to 3%. Raises €50 million
Income tax Costing
Introduce new 3rd rate of tax of 48% on income earned in excess of €100,000. Raises €448 million
PRSI & USC Costing
Introduce a new employers’ rate of PRSI of 15.75% on the portion of salary paid in excess of €100,000 per annum. Raises €136 million
Retain 10% USC for self-employed over €100,000. Raises €123 million
Tax Relief and Tax evasion Costing
Reduce mortgage interest deductions against rent for landlords from 75% to 60%. Raises €57 million
Increase Revenue Commissioner activity to target tax evasion. Raises €70 million in first year
Standardise section 23 tax relief. Raises €4.5 million
Standardise Film Relief. Raises €37 million
Pensions Costing
Reduce the earnings cap for pension contributions from €115,000 per annum to €70,000 per annum. Raises €110 million
Standardise the relief at which tax back can be claimed. Beginning with a reduction to 28% in 2015. Raises €235 million

Spending

Raising Living Standards for the most vulnerable Costing
Increase Family Income Supplement by 10%. Cost €33 million
Increase the Respite Care Grant by €325. Cost €29.6 million
Over the next two budgets restore the maximum rates for young Jobseekers of €188. In Budget 2015 we would increase it by €40 per week. Cost €89 million
Add a telephone allowance of €9.50 per month to the Living Alone increase. Cost €20.6 million
Raise the One Parent Family Payment income disregard to €120. Cost €15.3 million
Introduce 4,000 additional Community Employment Scheme places. Cost €13.6 million
Increase investment in the Employability Service. Cost €1.5 million
Reinstate the Solas Training Allowance. Cost €6.7 million
Re-open the Diet Supplement Scheme. Cost €500,000
Increase Fuel Allowance by 3 weeks. Cost €23.9 million
Restore Farm Assist. Cost €3.4 million
A 10% increase in funding on emergency accommodation including women’s refuge centres. Cost €3.2 million
Increase funding for Traveller’s Initiatives. Cost €450,000
Increase funding to the National Disability Authority budget. Cost €230,000
Addressing the crisis in the health service Costing
Increase funding to disability services including but not limited to community physios, speech and language therapists and occupational therapists. Cost €31.3 million
Put in place an additional 1,000 nurses and midwives posts. Cost €40.2 million
Additional funding for suicide prevention and awareness and for roll-out of Suicide Crisis Assessment Nurses and counselling in primary care and liaison nurses in A&E. Cost €18.7 million
Increased emergency ambulance cover – 2 additional ambulances including personnel for each of the four regions. Cost €6.67 million
As a first step in phasing them out, reduce the charge per prescription for medical card-holders by €0.50. Cost €25 million
Increase budget for discretionary medical cards. Cost €13 million
Extend the BreastCheck programme to women aged between 65 and 69 years of age. Cost €2.9 million
Back to School more affordable Costing
Put in place a fund to make a free pre-school year more accessible to children with disabilities based on the full 15 hours a week. Cost €12 million
Increase the number of resource teachers by 1,000. Cost €45 million
Increase the capitation grant to primary and post-primary schools. Cost €3.3 million
Increase the Capitation Rates for VTOS, YouthReach, BTEI, PLC and Adult Literacy. Cost €1 million
Increase Back to Education Allowance for under 26s to €188. Cost €3 million
Increase funding to school meal programme by 15%. Cost €5.55 million
Increase funding to school books grant by 30%. Cost €4.5 million
Increase the annual Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance by €50. Cost €15.5 million
Frontline Workers Costing
We are also proposing that €20 million be ringfenced to ensure frontline posts could be rehired or filled where necessity demands it. Cost €20 million
Irish language and Gaeltacht areas Costing
Increase capital budget of Údarás na Gaeltachta by 50%. Cost €3 million
Increase funding to Foras na Gaeilge. Cost €2 million
Increase funding for the implementation of the 20-year strategy on the Irish language. Cost €1.69 million

Savings Measures

Public Pay and Pensions Costing
Reductions in public sector pay and pensions, including 15% reduction in public sector salaries between €100,000 & €150,000 and 30% on income over €150,000. Saves €23.02 million
Oireachtas Pay and Allowances Costing
Reductions in Oireachtas Pay and Allowances, including Taoiseach and Ministers reduced by 50% of everything over €75,000, and TDs and Senators reduced to €75,000 and €60,000. Saves €3.88 million
General Government Expenditure Costing
Reduce Professional fees and general department spend on travel and training by 10%. Saves €27.2 million
Public expenditure Costing
End the State subsidy of private care in public hospitals. Saves €107.29 million
2% reduction in branded medicines. Saves €21 million
Phased withdrawal of private school annual state subsidy over five years. Saves €20.6 million
Wind-down JobBridge Scheme. Saves €10.3 million
Cancel Gateway Scheme. Saves €3.1 million
Greater use of JobsPlus. Saves €15.2 million