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For Labour to be implementing right wing policies is shameful - Cullinane

5 November, 2013 - by David Cullinane TD

Speaking in the Seanad this afternoon during the debate on the Social Welfare Bill 2013, Sinn Féin spokesperson on social protection Senator David Cullinane said:

“Senators who argued during the recent referendum on the Abolition of the Seanad that they could make a difference should now step up to the plate and vote against the budget cuts.

Senators have a choice, they can either accept a Bill that cuts maternity benefit, scraps the bereavement grant, cuts jobs seekers and social welfare allowance to young people, or they can stand up and be counted.

“This is the time for the Seanad to show its worth and to repay the peoples’ confidence in it.

In her 2010 Budget speech Labour Party spokesperson on Social Protection, Joan Burton accused Fianna Fail of introducing measures that provided nothing but “pain for the poor, money for the rich, and the rolling back of the state.”  

“Just three years later, the very same Joan Burton introduces a budget that disproportionately impacts on women and children, vulnerable young people, and the disabled. 

“For example, Barnardo’s described the cut to maternity benefit as “anti-parenting, callous and unsupportive”.  They point out that Ireland lags behind many EU Countries in offering only 6 months maternity leave and no paid parental or paternity leave.

“For young unemployed people cuts to social welfare are particularly disgraceful. Young people cannot be incentivised into places paid or otherwise that do not exist.

“There have been around 20,000 unpaid internships under the JobBridge scheme over a similar timeframe.  €100 young person’s dole plus €50 JobBridge top-up for a 40 hour week.

“In other words the princely sum of €3.75 per hour is this government’s minimum wage.

Joan Burton and Labour are actively involved in the dismantling of key aspects of the welfare state.

“Any decent society should be able to look after its own people – especially the young, the vulnerable and the elderly. For a Labour Minister to be actively implementing right wing neoliberal policies is shameful.”

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