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Families in Dublin Mid West fearful for future

6 January, 2009

Sinn Féin National Chairperson and Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald is in Dublin Mid West today canvassing Lucan and Clondalkin. Ms McDonald has described the increasing anxiety about job losses and public service cuts for families across the constituency as “palpable” noting that the Taoiseach’s refusal to come up with a clear strategy on how he intends to pull the country out of recession is deepening the publics lack of confidence in the government.

The Dublin MEP said:

“As the country’s public finance crisis deepens and announcements of job losses continue to dominate the news the increasing anxiety of families across the city is palpable. The first issue people have raised with me today when calling into homes in Lucan and Clondalkin is the country’s worsening public finances. There is deep frustration with the government, but particularly with Fianna Fáil who have yet to articulate how they intend to turn around the country’s fortunes.

“Job losses and the slashing of public service funding are significant issues for families. Yesterday’s announcement of an €8.1 billion tax shortfall for 2008 now underpins the publics’ lack of confidence in government. Who could trust a government that chose to ignore persistent warnings from economists over the last 3 years that the public purse was over reliant on consumption and construction leaving our public finances dangerously exposed to external or unforeseen factors? Who could trust a political party that despite having governed the state during its most affluent economic decade has such an appalling record of investment in public services and infrastructure? Who could trust a government that can organise billions of euro bail outs for banks over a weekend but refuses to proactively protect and create jobs and provide basic health and education services for working families?

“The government cannot continue to sit on its hands. The Taoiseach needs to bring forward a comprehensive job creation strategy which includes a labour intensive programme to build public infrastructure such as schools and hospitals.  Finance Minister Brian Lenihan cannot simply take an axe to public services in order to cover the 2008 tax take shortfall.

“During the boom years the Department of Finance underestimated tax revenue whereas now it has completely overestimated end-of-year returns as the country's public finances lie in ruins with an overall exchequer deficit of €12.7 billion. There can be no excuses for such inept management of the public purse.

“A comprehensive strategy to bring us out of the current downturn must be presented to the people.  Such a strategy has to include job creation in order to increase the states tax take.  This should be led by a labour intensive programme to build public infrastructure such as schools and hospitals.  There also needs to be a review of the tax system to ensure everybody pays a fair and proportionate amount.

“The government has tough choices to make over the coming weeks and months. But a fair deal for working families and the vulnerable must underpin these decisions. The economy and society will benefit if it does. But if Fianna Fáil continue to ignore the needs of society in its economic decisions the consequences will be paid for by the people for years to come.” ENDS

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