Fine Gael Senator wary of influence of Independents on budget

 

SEANAD REPORT:PAUL BRADFORD (FG) said he was frightened at the prospect that Independent TDs, for whom their constituency was everything, not their country, would dictate what happened in next month’s budget.

Even at this late stage in the game, the Government should be willing to debate very frankly with the Opposition parties the economic choices available, to see if some degree of consensus could be found. “I think there is a lot of goodwill on this side of the House and on the part of my party to try to work with the Government, if the Government offers some degree of leadership.”

Mary White (FF) said the Government would be absolutely out of their minds if they touched the contributory old-age pension to achieve budgetary savings. She would participate in any public protest against such a move.

Referring to the recent court decision on the National Asset Management Agency, Eugene Regan (FG) said he wondered whether members of the Dáil and Seanad had fully realised when they proposed and supported the Nama legislation that they were signing up to Soviet Union-style expropriation of profitable business enterprises for reasons of State.

“The European Commission did not sign up to that either in its decision. It is a matter of public interest and EU law.” That was his motivation in raising the matter.

Pearse Doherty (SF) said it was disgraceful that on a day when the Government was announcing €6 billion in public spending cuts, it had also decided to spend hundreds of thousands of euro in taxpayers’ money on an appeal to the Supreme Court over the loss of its case on the holding of byelections.

The appeal was being taken to frustrate any attempt by his party or others to challenge the delay in holding the Waterford and Dublin South byelections, he added.

Frances Fitzgerald (FG) said she could not believe the Government was willing to use more public money once again to stop people exercising their vote. This was the type of behaviour in which dictatorships indulged.