Child Benefit cut and prescription rise would be blatant breaches of election pledges - Ó Caoláin
Commenting on cabinet leaks indicating that the Fine Gael/Labour Government intends to cut Child Benefit and to increase prescription charges for medical card holders in next week's budget, Sinn Féin health & children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said:
"Any attempt to cut Child Benefit would be a blatant breach of election pledges from the Labour Party which, before the general election, described proposed Child Benefit cuts by Fine Gael as a 'cut too far'. The Labour Party put posters up across the state claiming that it would protect Child Benefit.
"Just a few short weeks ago we had the Children's Referendum to strengthen the rights of children in the constitution. It would be an outrage if, in the wake of the people passing of that amendment, this government were to attack Child Benefit, a cut that would hit the most vulnerable children and families the hardest.
"For his part James Reilly, as Fine Gael Health spokesperson, opposed the imposition by Mary Harney of prescription charges for medical card holders. Not only has he failed to abolish the charges as he demanded in opposition, but he now proposes to increase them.
"It may well be that the level of cuts and charges leaked from cabinet today may not turn out to be the correct figures. This is likely part of the 'softening up' process with cuts and charges still imposed but portrayed on budget day as 'not as bad as they could have been' thanks to today's leaks.
"These two measures alone - Child Benefit cuts and higher prescription charges - would significantly increase the growing hardship for low to middle income families, and especially families with children in this state. They must be resisted strongly." ENDS.