Government suffering from selective emergency syndrome
David Cullinane, Sinn Féin spokesperson for Public Expenditure and Reform, has criticised the Fine Gael/Independent coalition for its plan to bring in €5 billion in tax cuts while using emergency legislation to hold back pay equality in the public sector.
Deputy Cullinane said:
“Yesterday Minister Donohoe laid before the House his annual report on the emergency legislation known collectively as the FEMPI acts. In it he said that there was continued need for this emergency legislation and that it would continue for at least another 12 months.
“This is a mere seven days after the Minister presented to the House the Summer Economic Statement, where he spoke of how happy his government was to announce over €5 billion in tax cuts and the creation of a €3 billion slush fund the use of which to be decided by unknown future events.
“This is selective emergency syndrome. How is it possible for the government to say on one hand that issues of recruitment and pay equality in our overstretched public sector must be subject to emergency legislation, while promising tax breaks for the top 14 percent of earners in our society?
“The reason is sad but simple. This government is committed to shrinking our social services so as to provide profit opportunities for private investors and vulture funds.
“The continued shrinking of our social services also opens up more opportunities for charities and other so-called non-profit organisations - and we've seen in recent days the problems that come which such a policy.
“In my response to the Minister in the Dáil last week I told him that for Sinn Féin pay equality in the public sector is a key issue that needs to be addressed.
“Sinn Féin’s recent Ard Fheis recognised that public service workers play a vital role in our society, yet many of the newer entrants have been penalised by the two-tier pay structure brought in by the last Fine Gael/Labour Government.
“Sinn Féin will continue to support the demand that this unfair two tiered system be replaced with a fairer system that rewards people based on their work, and is not defined by when they began their career.
“It is Sinn Féin’s view that FEMPI needs to be unwound in an equitable and structured way, with emphasis on low to middle income workers before those on over €65,000 who are already due to receive significant elements of pay restoration under the Lansdowne Road Agreement due to the unwinding of the Haddington Road Agreement.”