Massive surplus must boost services in health and childcare
Commenting on the Government surplus announced by the Department of Finance, Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Finance spokesperson Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin said:
"This massive Budget surplus must now be used to make targetted improvements in services with special emphasis on our ailing public health service and on the need for a comprehensive programme of early childhood care and education.
"Never in the history of the State has any Government had at its disposal such revenue - a surplus of €2.95 billion in 2005 compared to €1.89 billion in 2004. This renevue belongs to the people and it must be utilised for their benefit.
"It has been reported in the media that as late as today the Government had still not agreed its measures to address the massive deficit in the provision of early childhood care and education. While it is alarming that agreement has not yet been reached and that it has taken so long for this Government to seriously address this issue, it now has the opportunity to adopt the range of measures needed to support parents and children and to provide sufficient quality and accessible childcare places.
"In health we need the 3,000 additional beds to be put in place in the public system as promised. This massive surplus also gives the Government the opportunity to extend the medical card to under-18s and to proceed with the full roll-out of the promised primary care centres throughout the country. Nothing less will be acceptable on Budget Day."