Full text of Colm Keaveney's statement
Labour Party TD Colm Keaveney issued the following statement after voting against his party on the Social Welfare Bill.
On my vote against the Social Welfare Bill:
Since the first leaks emerged on Budget 2013 I have had deep misgivings on aspects of the Budget in relation to the changes to PRSI, to child benefit, to respite grants and to the overall regressive nature of the budget in terms of income.
Since Monday of last week I have been working to overturn the more odious aspects of this budget. I voted for the measures on the night of the budget in order to allow time myself and other deputies to campaign for the reversal or amelioration of these measures. Even last night I voted for the Second Stage of the Social Welfare Bill in order to allow for an opportunity for an eleventh hour change to be made. I and the other deputies have been unsuccessful in that regard.
Therefore, I have this afternoon voted against the Bill. I could not for reasons of conscience, or on the basis of the mandate that I received from my constituents in Galway East, vote for the measures in this Bill. I simply cannot vote in favour of measures that will have such a negative effect on working families, particularly given the regressive nature of the hits proposed.
I wish my colleagues in the Parliamentary Labour Party well. They are the finest group of people that I have had the honour to work with. It is unfortunate that we found ourselves sharing Government with a Party whose values see an equivalence in seeking to cut welfare to the most vulnerable in our society with a measure to increase the tax paid by those on high incomes. The progressive section of Fine Gael, prevalent to an extent in the FitzGerald era, is now almost entirely absent and that party now seeks to become an Irish Tory Party.
I remain loyal to the Labour Party and to its values and the values of its membership. I am proud of all that the party has achieved throughout their 100 year existence and I will remain a member of the party and continue to work on its behalf.