Government has forgotten the meaning of Social Justice – Ó Snodaigh
Speaking during the debate on the Social Welfare Bill, Sinn Féin Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has reminded the government that they were elected on the promise of building a society based on fairness and equal citizenship. The Dublin South-Central TD said that in the past five years, the government has lost all sense of social justice.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:
“This government has prioritised tax cuts which favour the better-off in our society over public spending which would favour everybody else. You should have listened to the people. Two thirds of whom in a recent Irish Times opinion poll said that they overwhelmingly wanted your Government ‘to increase expenditure on public services , housing, homelessness, health, education and childcare,’ over tax cuts .
“Over the course of this Government’s term in office, you did not share the burden of austerity equally or fairly, € 30 billion was taken out of the economy in taxes and cuts during the recession, some suffered greatly and others were protected. Your own Department cut nearly €3 billion in Social Welfare spending at a time of increased dependency on Social Welfare.
“In fact, you did the opposite and made the most vulnerable, the poorest, members of our society shoulder the heaviest load, even though you said in the Programme for Government that you ‘sought to protect the young, the sick, and the vulnerable’.
“You did cut core social welfare rates time and time again, despite your denials. You relentlessly cut, cut, cut during periods of severe hardship when the less well off in society should have had the benefit of the safety net of social transfers.
“You deny that inequality has risen during your years in Government; yet in Budget 2016, the rich –poor gap has widened by €506 a year. In two years, the rich–poor gap has widened by €1,003 as a result of your Government’s budget decisions.
“I remember when you came into Government in 2011, you promised to mend our broken economy; to protect the vulnerable; to build a society based on fairness and equal citizenship.
“Nearly five years on, you have not delivered on any of these promises. Along the way, you’ve lost any sense of social justice.”