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Emergency budget sickening – ordinary families to lose Thousands – Donegal County council to lose up to 10 million

8 April, 2009 - by Pearse Doherty TD


Donegal Senator Pearse Doherty has described the emergency budget as sickening. Senator Doherty was speaking following the announcement from the government that families will lose their early childcare supplement, mortgage interest relief and even those on the lowest of incomes will see taxes double.

Senator Doherty claimed that most people are still unaware of the full impact of the budget, as much of the cuts were not announced publicly by the minister on the day – such as the 25% funding for local and regional roads, which could see up to €10 million taken back from Donegal County Council this year.

Senator Doherty said: "Despite government claims that this budget would be fair, it’s implications will be far from fair. Where is the fairness in taking thousands of euros from families on the lowest of incomes in the form of the early childcare supplement and mortgage interest relief? Where is the fairness for our children who will continue be taught in run-down classrooms as a result of the cut of €30 million from the school buildings programme? Where is the fairness for our struggling farmers who have seen their REPS payments cut by 17% and other subsidies ended.

"It is clear that this government has no clue what is needed at this time. What is required is a fair and progressive taxation system, coupled with a job creation strategy. This government has failed on both accounts.

"Over the past few weeks we in Sinn Féin have launched our own job creation strategy. The strategy is fully costed and the required funding identified. Our pre-budget submission identified over €3 billion in money raised and saved. These proposals show that there were other options but these options were not taken as they would mean that those earning the most would pay their fair share.

"If the government chose our options, we would build twice as many schools, protect investment in roads and social housing, increase spending on broadband and create a €300 million job retention fund to keep workers in work and away from the dole queues. This government has claimed that it cannot cut Ministers wages who earn close to €200,000 per year until further studies are undertaken. However no such hesitation was shown to our 18 and 19 year olds who through no fault of their own have found themselves unemployed and have now seen the social welfare payment cut from €200 to €100 per week.

"It is deeply worrying that the government has decided to cut the funding for local and regional roads by €150 million. This 25% cut in the funding that was allocated to local authorities earlier this year will mean that Donegal County Council will have to return anything up to €10 million that was to be spent on our local and regional road network."

Senator Doherty concluded:

"If there is any lesson to be taken from this budget it is that this government is tired, incompetent and unable to understand the hardship that ordinary families are facing as a result of the mess that they made of the economy. While they have not done the right thing by this budget they can still do the right thing by resigning. It is time for them to go and time for new ideas and real leadership." ENDS

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