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Frontline public services must be protected – McDonald

15 November, 2011 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald said her party is committed to properly funded frontline services while eliminating wasteful public spending. Deputy McDonald was speaking today at the launch of her party’s pre-budget submission entitled The Route to Recovery.

She said:

“Sinn Féin is clear in its commitment to properly funded public services. Now more than ever services such as health and education need investment yet the government continues to target the most vulnerable and critical services. Sinn Féin has today outlined a number of measures to eliminate waste whilst protecting frontline services.

“A culture of high pay and pensions continues to prevail amongst the upper echelons of the civil and public sector. Fine Gael and Labour had a real opportunity to tackle this problem head on but instead they have merely tinkered at the edges. Over 14% of our people are out of work, we are in an IMF programme, public and private low and middle income earners have seen their income slashed over the last four years yet the president, government ministers, and secretaries general still earn extraordinary salaries. Capping public sector pay at three times the average wage, particularly in a recessionary period, is a fair measure.

“Successive governments have been mired in cronyism and self-interest since the inception of the state. Nowhere is this more evident than in the appointment of board members to state agencies. Whilst Fianna Fáil well and truly kicked cronyism into the field, Labour and Fine Gael have now enthusiastically run with it. Reform is needed. Immediate reforms should include a reduction in board membership to no more than seven with board membership remuneration cut by 25%. Transparency must also be introduced to the system of state board appointments.

“Control of strategic state assets is central to the future security and prosperity of the economy and society, as well as the environmental protection of the island. Sinn Féin in its pre-budget submission briefly sets out the party’s vision of the role commercial semi-states can play in the state’s economic recovery.” ENDS

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