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Ireland cannot afford to keep this government on – Ó Caoláin

22 April, 2009 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Speaking from Leinster House ahead of today’s resumption of the Dáil Sinn Féin Dáil Leader Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin TD has called for new political leadership noting ‘its time to put the people back on the political agenda. Fianna Fáil and the Green’s are failing at every turn and Ireland simply cannot afford to keep this government on."

The Sinn Féin Dáil leader said:

"This week’s Dáil debate on the Social Welfare typifies this government’s approach to tackling the recession. The Bill itself is bad news for the most vulnerable in Irish society and contains unnecessary measures to cut back public expenditure.

"Sinn Féin in its emergency budget submission to the government proposed over three billion euro of public finance measures for this year alone to tackle the budget deficit. These proposals are fair and protect low-income families and the vulnerable. Critically our submission included a Jobs Creation and Retention Strategy containing over 80 solid recommendations for getting Ireland back to work.

"The social welfare legislation that the government is putting before us this week will seek to raise the PRSI ceiling. Sinn Féin called for the PRSI ceiling to be abolished and also for an increase in PRSI of 1% for all employees. This would have raised €950 million in a full year making many of the government’s cuts in social welfare and childcare unnecessary.

"The government’s plan to cut back rent supplement payments is a particularly disastrous decision and proves a lack of understanding of how the rental market works for social welfare recipients.

"Cuts to the job seekers benefit and allowances for the under 20s is a grossly unfair move and the withdrawal of the early childcare supplement with no free pre school provision in place is a shocking abdication by government of its responsibility to working families and children alike. Taking away the Christmas bonus is perhaps the most damning indictment of Fianna Fáil and the Green’s. To literally take Christmas from the poorest families is shameful, and one that the government parties will pay for dearly for on June 5th and indeed when the Lisbon Treaty comes round for a second time.

"The fact is this government is simply not up to the job. Ireland needs new leadership at the helm. It’s time to put people back on the political agenda. Job creation and retention will be the number one priority for Sinn Féin over the coming months. We want to see Bank of Ireland and AIB nationalised before another penny of taxpayers money in proffered up. We want to protect front line services whilst tackling private for profit companies operating on the back of our public services. Developing the all-Ireland agenda needs to become a priority. We want to see the frontloading of critical infrastructure projects. We want to see a new left alliance for change that is built on innovation and fair play." ENDS

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