"Spring Statement marks second phase of Austerity" - Carthy
Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West Constituency Matt Carthy speaking from the European Parliament in Strasbourg has hit out at what he termed "the embellished and deficient spring statement" by Ministers Noonan and Howlin this week.
"This statement consisted of two documents with over a 100 pages between them. Unsurprisingly but frighteningly the longwinded statement consisted of no more than waffle and rhetoric.
"Basically the full and very lengthy statement boiled down to one substantive policy and that is that the Government will have between €1.2 and €1.5 billion available for tax cuts and spending increases, which they intend to disperse on a 50/50 split. That’s it.
"It would have taken the Minister a few seconds to make that point. Instead, we were subjected to Ministers prevaricating and disconcertingly fudging over the crucial point, which is that the Irish people are now entering in to the next phase of austerity.
"This second phase of austerity will consist of public spending being cut in real terms; that is, after inflation".
Carthy, who is a member of the European Parliament's Economic & Monetary Affairs Committee, continued:
"This will have a negative impact on our already struggling and under resourced public services.
"Public spending is needed for the roll-out of essential infrastructure, schools and hospitals, completion of regeneration projects, the comprehensive roll-out of broadband and an upgrading of the water system (rather than the introduction of water meters).
"However, the Coalition has once again failed to protect the interests of the ordinary citizens and have instead ensured that certain vested financial interests will be maintained.
"This is another lost opportunity for the current Government to deliver for the Irish people. There was the opportunity to outline the economic priorities for the next 5 years but the Government lacked the leadership and responsibility necessary to commit itself in any definitive manner.
"The priority must be to start to undo the damage caused to the economy and to wider society by poor political choices by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael/ Labour governments.
"What is now needed is a fair and sustainable recovery where economic infrastructure where social and public investment are prioritised".