Budget 2016 shows how government has earned its “chaos coalition” nickname – Liadh Ní Riada MEP
Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has said that budget 2016 shows how the Fine Gael and Labour Party government has earned its “chaos coalition” nickname.
Speaking from Brussels this morning, Ní Riada said;
“Budget 2016 is ultimately devoid of social solidarity on any credible level. It does very little to ease the hardship being felt by the most vulnerable.
“The government has decided to hand-out tax breaks to high-earners instead of using the fiscal space to address, in a meaningful way, the crises impacting our vital public services.
“That is the crux of political choice made by both Fine Gael and the Labour Party in the budget.
“They have chosen to direct funds into the pockets of the wealthiest and away from the crumbling services upon which ordinary people depend.
“We have approximately 100,000 families on housing waiting lists throughout the state. It is unquestionable that this money would have been better spent addressing a situation that has developed into a national emergency under this detached government.
“It is perhaps in the area of health that we see the degree to which this budget is election driven. Instead of directing funds into front line delivery and improving equality of access to healthcare, the government has announced a rather cynical, voting harvesting ploy in the form of extending free GP care to children under twelve.
“Any extension to this scheme should have been based on income rather than age. The government’s move smacks of an administration that is clearly in campaign mode. It will grab some headlines but it brushes the anomalies within our health system right under the carpet.
“It beggars defines that, with an A&E and hospital crisis gripping the state, this coalition has provided only €18 million new health spend after demographics and the Landsdowne Road Agreement are taken into account. They haven’t even touched the prescription charge which disproportionately impacts the less well-off.
“Sinn Féin would have done things differently. We would have invested in public services to the level that is required.
“That means additional €383 million for health. The government announced it will be putting only an additional €69 million into housing. Recognising the scale of the housing crisis, unlike Fine Gael and the Labour Party, Sinn Féin would have invested an additional €300 million in social housing for 2016. This would have delivered an extra 1680 units on top existing government plans.
“This budget shows exactly how the government has earned its “chaos coalition” nickname.
“It is regressive, fiscally reckless and does little to improve the lives of ordinary people.”