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McDonald challenges government on budget commitments

5 July, 2012 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Speaking in the Dáil this morning Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD called on the government to outline to the Dáil what issues are on the table for Budget 2013. The Dublin Central TD also criticised Labour and Fine Gael Ministers for failing to curb the runaway pay of their Special Advisors.

Deputy McDonald said:

“Sinn Fein met with the Troika yesterday. We outlined our view that their policies of austerity are not working.

“What was clear from our engagement is that on issues such as tax reform, public spending and social welfare payments the government has significant scope and choice on what policies it pursues.

“It’s time for the government to tell the Dáil what issues are on the table; what choices will you pursue.

“Will cuts to basic rates of Social Welfare be on the table or will you stick by your programme for government commitment not to cut basic rates of social welfare?

“Will Ministers consider cuts to the extravagant salaries paid to their Special advisors? Indeed the salary cap for special advisors is more honoured in the breach than by the observance.

“Will the Labour party show leadership on this issue? Will there be tax increases for those on over €100,000? Or will the government continue to protect the high rollers while those on low and middle incomes and on welfare pay the price for its austerity policies?

“The ESRI has held that Budget 2012 involved greater proportionate losses for those on low incomes. Unemployment is now at 14.9 per cent.

“Citizens are losing their homes because of the cuts this Government has imposed on Rent Supplement. Yet at the same time government advisors continue to earn lavish salaries. This is fundamentally unfair.” ENDS

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