Fianna Fáil produced fairer budgets than Fine Gael, according to independent TD

Stephen Donnelly praised Fianna Fáil austerity budgets as ‘perfectly progressive’

 Wicklow independent candidate Stephen Donnelly.

Wicklow independent candidate Stephen Donnelly.


Budgets produced by Fianna Fáil-led governments were fairer than those of the current Coalition, Independent TD Stephen Donnelly said yesterday.

He said he was surprised to find this was the case but acknowledged that the Fine Gael-Labour Government’s budgets have occurred since the troika came into the Republic at the end of 2010.

The 2008, 2009 and 2010 budgets of the coalition led by Fianna Fáil were “perfectly progressive from a policy perspective”, he said. In contrast, the current Government’s budgets were “perfectly regressive”.

“This is what happens when you see the IMF present this outdated Thatcherite ideology: it doesn’t work,” he said at the launch of a campaign to have equality as a core part of the Government’s budget strategy. He said a single mother in his constituency was asked to contribute 45 times more, relative to her income, than a single person earning €150,000 a year.

Mr Donnelly is a co-author of a document on equality budgeting that aims to ensure the impact on lower earners and people on welfare is not disproportionate.

The Equality Budgeting Campaign is a broadly based coalition of trade unions, NGOs and concerned individuals who want equality at the centre of decisions about public expenditure and income.

‘Deeply dysfunctional’
Mr Donnelly said the Dáil was a “deeply dysfunctional place” and the Government intended to bring the guillotine down on the Social Welfare Bill next week despite having a couple of extra months to debate it.

He described the four members of the economic council – Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin – as “four men; average age: 62; average income: €180,000; accumulated time in the Dáil: 120 years; and accumulated time in the private sector: zero. Professional training for all four: teacher. When I look at that group I see an old guard and an old way of thinking.”