Labour chairman Keaveney votes against Government
Mr Keaveney’s profile appeared to have been removed from the Labour Party website earlier, but his profile reappeared a short time later. A spokesman for the Labour Party said it may have been due to many internet users viewing the website during the vote.
“There might have been a high amount of traffic and temporarily removed his profile. I’m note sure. I’m not the most technical,” he said.
Mr Keaveney was elected to Galway County Council in 2004 and to the Dáil in 2011. He became chairman of the Labour Party last April. He became involved in student politics in the 1990s particularly with a free fees campaign and was president of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) in 1995.
Dublin West TD Patrick Nulty welcomed his decision to oppose the Bill. “This is an unfair budget, which breaks Labour promises,” Mr Nulty said.
“The measures contained in the bill, such as the cut to the respite care grant and the cut in child benefit, are not acceptable to those who voted Labour.”
Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin said it was a “serious blow to the Government” and the authority of Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore
Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald said the “really extraordinary thing” was “bar one” the Labour and Fine Gael deputies were “prepared stand over this budget”.
Earlier today Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore was accused in the Dáil of making liars of his TDs because of the budget measures.
Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said the Government intended rushing through social welfare legislation introducing cuts which, in real terms and real time, would cause real hardship to families, children and women.
“They are the very sections of society that you solemnly promised protection to,’’ she added.
Mr Gilmore, she said, had comprehensively made liars of his TDs, Ministers, senators and himself.
When Leas Cheann Comhairle Michael Kitt said the word “lie’’ would have to be withdrawn, Ms McDonald said she would substitute “untruth’’ and “porky pie’’.
Mr Gilmore said Sinn Féin had a brass neck to complain about basic rates of social welfare given that the rate in the North, where the party is in government, is €87 a week.
He said the budget was difficult because it was restoring the State’s finances and freeing it of the economic mess this Government had inherited.
“It has protected basic rates of social welfare, children in the classroom, health services and is introducing the biggest package of taxes on wealth that has been seen in a budget, certainly in my time in this House, to raise over €500 million,’’ he added.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said Labour and Fine Gael TDs had voted, one and all, for some of the most regressive cuts to child benefit, respite grants and child clothing allowances, as well as introducing an increase in tax for low-paid workers.