Fianna Fáil manifesto pledges not costed, claims Fine Gael
Donohoe says Opposition has made no provision for public pay over next five years
Election campaign in full swing: Fine Gael has this morning published a version of the Fianna Fáil manifesto that features the slogan “no costings, no credibility”. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
The party has on Saturday morning published a version of the Fianna Fáil manifesto that features the slogan “no costings, no credibility”.
Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe said he believes it is “incredible” that Fianna Fáil has said it will use some or all of a €1.2 billion fund to pay for a new public sector pay deal.
“Fianna Fáil are making no provision to explain how they will pay for public pay for the next five years. If they do use the €1.2 billion that they have set aside for public pay, this is equivalent to a 1.2 per cent pay increase across the next five years – which is half of the current rate of wage increase that the public service stability agreement affords to all who work in our public services,” Mr Donohoe said.
“If they’ve made no provision for public pay, this absolutely undermines the claim that this is a costed document.
“It shows that Fianna Fáil, even in their manifesto, cannot be trusted with the choices that are crucial to looking after our economy and looking after our society for the next five years,” the Minister said.
He criticised the party’s proposal for an SSIA-type scheme for first-time buyers looking to get together a deposit.
Mr Donohoe said: “This is a repeat of the kind of economic policy that caused such harm to our country.
“Is the change that Fianna Fáil are offering a return back to our past where tax policies are uncontested, where tax policies turn out to be unaffordable or where they are not clear about how they are going to pay for public services?”
Children’s hospital delays
Mr Donohoe also addressed the issue of the national children’s hospital after it emerged fresh delays and extra costs had been discussed by senior Government and HSE officials in recent weeks.
In minuted meetings, senior officials were told the board managing the hospital will need €15 million to defend itself against “exceptional” claims being made by the main contractors.
“This is very much a matter and an issue that is still with us here and now. The management of the national children’s hospital and how we can ensure that it is delivered in a better way and that cost overruns are minimised is of course an ongoing issue both for the Government and for the board of the national children’s hospital,” Mr Donohoe said.
He could not comment on questions regarding whether the project will end up in the High Court, he said, because it could influence the outcome of any proceedings.
“What I can say at this point now is that there has been a number of arbitration processes that have been gone through, and those processes have been gone through by the board of the national children’s hospital to try to secure the best value for the taxpayer on a project in which I already know there’s a huge amount of concern from taxpayers about.
“The Government will continue to support the board of hospital in their work.”