Wexford Sinn Féin Councillor Anthony Kelly has accused the government of targeting the vulnerable and low and middle income families with the same failed austerity budgetary measures as pursued by Fianna Fáil. Cllr Kelly said that Enda Kenny’s State of the Nation address had simply rubbed salt into the wounds by admitting that the people of Ireland were not responsible for the economic crisis on one hand, while supporting a budget which unfairly penalises them on the other.
“Once again the innocent are being made pay for the mistakes of government and the elite,” Cllr Kelly said. “The decision to cut fuel allowance by €120 will have a devastating impact on the most vulnerable and it is a decision that will literally cost lives. Cuts to disability rates for younger people and raised student fees show that this government is intent on bleeding our youth out of the country. Today many young people were given a choice; emigration or poverty.”
“By cutting child benefit for 3rd and 4th children, Back-to-School Allowance, payments for lone parents on CE and some job seekers’ payments the Minister is sucking €475 million out of local economies. This will obviously result in further economic collapse and more job losses. The end result is less people paying tax and more people on the live register.”
“The savage cut of €543 million from the health services will finish off many hospitals around the country and further escalate the dangerous ‘trolley crisis’. There are over 2,000 public hospital beds currently closed due to cutbacks. 3,100 nursing and midwifery posts have already been lost due to the recruitment embargo. Thousands more front-line posts will be lost over the next three years. It is scandalous that €50 million is to be cut from disability, mental health and children’s services. Services from hospitals to home helps, from primary care to mental health, from nursing home care to child services will be reduced.”
“Sinn Féin has continuingly argued that those who can afford to pay more should do so. This year alone the gap between the wealthiest 20% of the population and the poorest 20% has increased by 25%! It’s a staggering statistic that has clearly gone over the head of Fine Gael and the Labour party. Despite admitting that the Irish people are not responsible for the mistakes of the Irish elite, these parties have chosen to implement Fianna Fail like austerity measures rather than impose new taxes on the wealthy. This carnival will go down in history as the budget of broken promises.”