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Warped thinking of Government on Social Welfare Bill

26 February, 2004

Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin slammed the Government's "warped thinking" on the Social Welfare Bill today pointing to the inequalities inherent when property developers are given tax relief while the interests of the disadvantaged come last.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"Minister McCreevy put through a Bill which extends until 2006 a range of property-based tax reliefs which are primarily of benefit to property speculators and developers while admitting to me last week that he has no estimate of their cost. These gifts are to be given by this Government " at cost unknown " to developers of multi-storey car parks, private hospitals, hotels,etc. Yet this same Government is imposing miserly and dangerous restrictions in the Rent Allowance scheme. That is the sort of warped thinking that dominates this Government.

"It is important to note that vast swathes of the electorate realise that whether it's a Fianna Fáil/PD coalition, or a Fine Gael/Labour coalition, the interests of the poor and disadvantaged have come last. They have also realised that Fianna Fáil and the PDs have been in power for almost seven years of unprecedented economic growth with resources which were not available to any previous government.

"All workers should be entitled, without discrimination, to support when they are out of work through illness, incapacity or redundancy. It is essential for all elected representatives to set their face against scare-mongering and false claims about floods of people coming here to claim welfare, not to mention the deplorable proposal yesterday to restrict further any access for new migrants to welfare support. Such scare tactics have been used in the past in a disgraceful way and we must ensure that it is completely ruled out at all times and especially during the forthcoming elections." ENDS

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