Dáil committee to hear pre-budget submissions

Finance committee to hear from Social Justice Ireland, Simon Community and St Vincent de Paul

Various groups will address the committee today. Photograph: Screengrab from Oireachtas broadcasting

Various groups will address the committee today. Photograph: Screengrab from Oireachtas broadcasting

Wed, Sep 11, 2013, 12:31

The Oireachtas Committee on Finance has begun hearing pre-Budget submissions from groups today. From 10am, organisations such as Barnardos, Threshold and Social Justice Ireland are presenting their submissions to the committee.

Director of children’s charity Barnardos, Fergus Finlay said young people have been extremely affected since the recession began.

“Since austerity began, support to families to get their children to school has virtually halved. Every single Barnardos project has a waiting list they never used have,” he said.

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“Depression, drug use, anti-social behaviour has increased. It’s almost like someone decided that children caused the crash.. There are hungry children in Ireland.”

An increase of €5 to basic social welfare has been proposed by Social Justice Ireland, with its director Fr Séan Healy saying that high-income earners would not be overly affected by the increase, but it would mean a lot to people living on a low income. He added that there is a need for an increase in investment.

“We have basically been driven by our conviction that without investment, there will be no jobs and without jobs, there’ll be no recovery and then we’re stuck in austerity,” he said.

The need for an increase in investment was echoed by TASC economist Dr Tom McDonnell, who said investment in Ireland is now at a “horrifyingly low level”.

“For a country to thrive into the future and to maintain high level of life for its citizens, it must invest year on year. Failure to do so is to condemn,” he said.

Groups will address the committee until around 5.30pm today.