A Fair Recovery based on equality is needed – Adams
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD told this morning’s National Economic Dialogue conference in Dublin Castle that Sinn Féin was there “to advocate for a fair recovery with equality at its core.”
The Sinn Féin leader was critical of the government’s decision, announced in the Spring economic statement, to split any available fiscal space on a 50:50 basis. He challenged the government to equality and rural proof the upcoming budget and asked if it will give indigenous industry, small and medium enterprises and the arts the proper support they deserve.
Teachta Adams said:
“I note that the Ministers have stated that the fiscal space available will be shared on a 50/50 basis between expenditure and tax measures. That decision has already been taken.
“So Sinn Féin is here to advocate a fair recovery with equality at its core. As we all know, following the economic crash under the last Fianna Fáil lead government, a Fine Gael/Labour coalition assumed office with a huge mandate for political change. Arguably little has happened on that front.
“As we sit here today a third of our children are living in consistent poverty. The Fine Gael and Labour’s Budgets have been the most unfair and unequal since the economic crash and I have consistently asked the government to equality proof its decisions. Will the government equality proof this upcoming budget?
“Will it give indigenous industry, small and medium enterprises proper support or give proper support to the arts?
“This month the Lone Parents Allowance was cut while former Taoisigh and Ministers’ pensions were increased.
“The abolition of the PRSI ceiling, the increase in VAT, the family home tax and water charges have significantly increased the tax bill for low and medium income families and the refusal to do anything practical to alleviate those in mortgage distress or those struggling with spiralling rents, have increased financial pressures on households.
“At the same time special legislation was rammed through the Dáil to allow the government to pickpocket the incomes of citizens to pay for water charges.
“We advocate that the government should promote a fair economy. Will the government abolish the property tax and the water charges? What proposals will the government bring forward to reform the Universal Social Charge to ease the burden on low earners? How will the government ensure that high earners pay their fair share? Will the government advance the All-Ireland economy? Will you equality proof your decisions?
“Given that 70% of our citizens live in rural Ireland, will the government rural proof its decisions and will you give proper investment to rural Ireland bearing in mind the devastating effects of mass emigration on communities and families. This must include the provision of high speed broadband.
“Citizens are entitled to secure jobs, decent pay and conditions as opposed to a low wage economy which is developing. Citizens are entitled to a home and to quality public services, especially health services.
“I like to think we have brought a little dose of reality to these discussions today and I put these questions to the government in good faith and in the hope that it would recognise that in a republic the economy should serve the citizens instead of the citizens serving the economy.”