Sleight of Hand in Summer Economic Statement – Cullinane
Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform David Cullinane has said today that the Summer Economic Statement does not reflect the realities facing the exchequer regarding public pay and pensions nor the pressures facing households and businesses regarding housing, health and infrastructure.
Deputy Cullinane said:
“Minister Donohoe took the decision to leave out of the Summer Economic Statement the pay pressures he knows are coming down the line.
“I put this to him in Committee this morning and his response – that no government shows its cards before a pay negotiation – is weak to say the least, given that the government has said it will remove USC and has allocated €1 billion a year to a ‘rainy-day fund’ from 2019 onwards. I would suggest that is not just showing your cards but dropping the full deck.
“It is obvious what the government is doing here. They are consciously ignoring expenditure pressures they know have to be dealt with after 2018 in order to paint a rosy picture for their tax cuts for high earners and continued privatisation agenda.
“This is not responsible governance. It is not prudent politics.
“Minister Donohoe and the Fine Gael/Independent government are committed to pursuing a political agenda that does not have the support of the majority of citizens.
“It has the support of the majority of the Dáil, though, thanks to Fianna Fail of course.
“The other key issue that the Minister fails to address in the Summer Statement is capital investment.
“We have had eight years of austerity. The country is at a level of under-investment that is not normal, that is not sustainable. In fact, Ireland’s level of public capital investment is one of the lowest in the EU and there is nothing in the Summer Statement that will change that.
“This is not an abstract economic statistic.
“We see the lack of public investment every day in terms of homelessness, in terms of hospital trolleys, in terms of creaking infrastructure and non-existent broadband in significant parts of rural Ireland.
“This is not a recovery, simply the new normal for the so-called new politics of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail. We need a genuine new politics and real change now.”