Coalition politicians back stance on budget
The leaderships of both Labour and Fine Gael received strong support from their TDs and Senators at separate parliamentary party meetings yesterday, with no public demurral or disagreement with the Government stance that the budget will not be altered.
However, Dublin North TD Brendan Ryan spoke out strongly against child benefit cuts at a meeting of the Labour parliamentary party.
He appealed to the party leadership to speed up the implementation of measures relating to tax relief on pension contributions in respect of top earners.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny addressed the Fine Gael meeting yesterday evening and outlined why the budget as agreed between both parties had to stand in its entirety. “There was no division whatsoever,” said a party member.
Another Fine Gael TD said that, given the strong line adopted by Ministers that there would be no change, there was little prospect of any dissent.
After Tánaiste and Labour leader Eamon Gilmore and his deputy leader, Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton, addressed the Labour meeting, Mr Ryan outlined how the child benefit reduction would hit low and middle-income families.
Meath East TD Dominic Hannigan also spoke about the impact of child benefit cuts on his constituents, while Clare Deputy Michael McNamara pointed to the promises made by the party during the general election campaign.
Party chairman Colm Keaveney noted that former minister of state for housing Willie Penrose had resigned the party whip over the closure of the Army barracks in Mullingar, having giving a commitment that this would not happen.
Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin, a member of the four-man Economic Management Council which agreed the bulk of the budget, gave TDs and Senators background on the negotiations.
Ms Burton concluded by stressing the importance of having protected the core welfare benefit payments.