Disastrous Budget will create social misery – Ó Caoláin
Giving his initial reaction to Budget 2011, Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said it was a savage Budget for people on social welfare and will demolish public services.
“This is a disastrous Budget. The result of this cruel Budget will be poverty and unemployment and social misery. The cuts to social welfare are savage and it is people on social welfare who are going to bear the brunt of this Budget.
“€8 per week is being taken out of the pockets of most social welfare recipients. This, together with the €10 reduction in Child Benefit for the first and second child and €20 for the third, will again hit the least well off and increase child poverty. And this is on top of the accumulated social welfare cuts in the last three budgets.
“Middle income earners are being hammered as more of them are taken into the higher tax band. But there is no new higher rate for the top earners – people earning over €100,000 per year – and no wealth tax.
“Public services are being demolished. Health cuts of €765 million in 2011 will, I believe, result in the deaths of patients. There are currently over 1500 beds in our public hospitals closed due to cuts. The cuts in this Budget will close hundreds, if not thousands more beds.
“The €920 million cut from social protection, the €765 million cut from health and the €170 million cut from education combined come to 85% of the total €2.2 billion cuts in spending across all Govt departments.
“Children, young people and families are hit again with higher charges for school transport, new charges for Post-Leaving Cert courses and a €500 increase in third-level registration fees.
“If this Government is an asylum, as Minister Gormley claims, then this Budget is the economics of the asylum. It is the product of a sell-out of Irish sovereignty to the IMF and the EU.
“The basis of this Budget, of the IMF/EU deal and the four-year plan is the belief that taking €15 billion out of the economy between now and 2015 will bring us out of recession.
“By the Taoiseach’s own admission €15 billion has already been taken out of the economy since 2008 – and with what result? The recession is continuing and it is deepening. Month after month we have consistently had over 400,000 people unemployed.
“This futile Budget is the death-rattle of the Fianna Fáil/Green Government and if it is implemented it will spell doom for the Irish economy.
“There is a better, fairer way. We reject this Budget and will go into the forthcoming General Election pledged to overturn it and to work to see the implementation of a real plan for recovery.” ENDS