Budget measures echo 1913 Lockout, says Doherty

Budget delivers another ‘almighty wallop’ to Irish people, says McDonald

Sinn Fé
e
in finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said the Government was peddling the same policie
i
s which Minister for Finance Michael Noonan himself had said were counterproductive when he was on the Opposition benches.

Sinn Fé e in finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said the Government was peddling the same policie i s which Minister for Finance Michael Noonan himself had said were counterproductive when he was on the Opposition benches.

 

Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said there were echoes of the 1913 Lockout in the budget.

He said the budget was being delivered in a year which marked the Lockout centenary, “when great Irish men and women stood up against great unfairness and the unending pursuit of profit on the back of the Irish workers’’.

He accused the Government, in WB Yeats’s words commemorating the event, of “fumbling in a greasy till and adding the the half-pence to the pence”. The words, he added, should be on the door of Minister for Finance Michael Noonan’s office.

“One hundred years after the Lockout, and your Government have locked yourselves into a policy of austering,’’ he added.

Mr Doherty said the Government was peddling the same policies which Mr Noonan himself had said were counterproductive when he was on the Opposition benches.

“And these policies were counterproductive,” he added. “Look where they have gotten us: high levels of unemployment, emigration, poverty and, this year, we expect zero growth in the domestic economy.’’

Mr Doherty said the budget had been written by spindoctors, with the devil in the detail. “Hikes in excise duties, cuts to maternity benefits, for the second time, cuts to illness benefits and the drugs’ initiative and the telephone allowance,’’ he added.

SF public expenditure spokeswoman Mary Lou McDonald said the budget delivered another “almighty wallop’’ to the Irish people. Accusing the Government of living in a world of make-believe, she said it needed to know that families who could not heat their homes, couples who could not make their mortgage repayments and parents “who skyped their children in Sydney and Boston will not be joining in your chorus of self-praise’’, she added.

Ms McDonald said it was clear the Government had no plan for economic growth, employment and debt relief, and was without any clue about the provision of public services.

“The real tragedy and scandal of all of this is that it does not have to be this way,’’ she added. “You had the option of giving real relief to struggling families.’’

Ms McDonald asked whether all “the tea and sympathy’’ rhetoric routinely spouted in the Dáil by Government deputies was just bluff, or whether it could be that the Government held the people in contempt.

She said the cut in the jobseekers’ allowance required an explanation, because no rationale was offered by the Minister. “Is it because you think the under-25s are a layabout generation?’’ she inquired. “Have you noticed there are no jobs for them?’’