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Government intent on hitting least well off – Ferris

11 December, 2012 - by Martin Ferris TD


Speaking in the Dáil this evening on Sinn Féin’s motion of no confidence in the government Martin Ferris TD said;

“It seems that this government is intent on hitting those least well off with an array of cuts from directly taking money out of household income through charges, but also impoverishing communities through cuts in a range of public provisions from transport to libraries to Garda stations, schools and the health service.”

Full text of Deputy Ferris’ speech follows: Check against delivery


There are many grounds for having no confidence in this government, and more so after last week’s budget.

It would also appear to be the case that confidence is weakening even among the government’s own backbenchers so it will be interesting to see in what way they vote on the Social Welfare Bill.

There is understandable unease among Labour TDs in particular regarding cuts such as that to respite care allowance. The pressure on Labour from across the community may hopefully result in a climb down on that particular cut but of course while that would be welcome it would only represent a minor victory in relation to the overall anti-social nature of the budgetary cutbacks.

That is why this motion expresses a lack of confidence in the entire performance of the government and not just in regard to particular individual issues.

Along with all other sectors of the community, farmers were also negatively impacted by the Budget. Among the areas where the axe fell were the Disadvantaged Area Scheme, the sheep grassland payment and the suckler cow welfare scheme. Along with the cut to Farm Assist and a reduction in VAT relief many farmers will suffer a further significant drop in income on top of what has already been a bad year in terms of market income.

The change in the disregard for accountable income and for children for farmers Farm Assist will mean reductions of over €40 per week for some farm families who are already finding it difficult to make ends meet.

There are around 11,000 farmers currently in receipt of the payment so we are talking about quite a large number of people who will be impacted by this cut. In my own county alone there are over 800 on Farm Assist, and over a hundred more in West Limerick.

So it is not the case, as has been suggested by some that this represents a minor cut affecting very few people. The actual amount of money involved – at over €5 million in a full year according to the Minister, but potentially three times that according to others, may not seem significant but the individual losses will mean that thousands of farmers and their children will have a harder time than they already are attaining the basic necessities.

And of course for such families in rural communities, particularly in the west where around 70% of recipients live, this cut comes on top not only of the other farming cuts but on top of the cuts inflicted on the rest of the community.

It seems that this government is intent on hitting those least well off with an array of cuts from directly taking money out of household income through charges, but also impoverishing communities through cuts in a range of public provisions from transport to libraries to Garda stations, schools and the health service.

And all for what we might ask when many people from across the political and economic spectrum are stating that the massive bank debt wedded to the state’s own debt will never be able to be paid anyway.

Is that sufficient grounds for beggaring the country? My party thinks not and that is why we are asking the House to support our motion of no confidence.

ENDS

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