Struggling families need action from government – McDonald
Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD called on the Taoiseach during this morning leaders questions in the Dáil to reassure struggling families that his government would not cynically use the withdrawn ESRI working paper to attack social welfare supports in Budget 2013.
Deputy McDonald said:
“This morning we have a tale of two reports. Parliamentarians in the Bundestag and the media have had sight of the troika's sixth review of Ireland's bailout programme before Dáil members. The ESRI report, which was not in fact an ESRI report but a working document, has been withdrawn from the State-sponsored organisation's website.
“By any standards, the ESRI’s working document was a very shoddy piece of work. It was based on data from 2004 and 2005. It was not peer-reviewed internally or externally. It has been spun and used by some people to create the impression that the hundreds of thousands of people who are out of work at the moment are somehow living a gilt-edged lifestyle.
“The Taoiseach needs to make clear that he understands that is not the case. There is no doubt that people at work are struggling to pay their bills. We know that. People are struggling as a direct consequence of the policies this government is pursuing.
“Citizens need reassurance that this government has not attempted in any cynical way to use the ESRI as part of a strategy to drive down social welfare supports in the next budget. Some have asked why this document was taken off the ESRI website; a more pertinent question would be how this report was put up there in the first place.
“Struggling families want this government to take responsibility for the economic circumstances they have had a hand in creating. They want to see action that yields results for them and their families.”