Mary Lou McDonald: We must 'ensure Brexit isn't used as a pretext to deliver a hard budget'

Mary Lou McDonald: We must 'ensure Brexit isn't used as a pretext to deliver a hard budget'
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald. Picture: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has warned the Government not to use the Brexit crisis as an excuse or pretext to impose an austerity budget that will "lurch" the country further to the right.

At the party's annual pre-Dáil think-in in Dundalk Ms McDonald insisted ordinary people must be protected. Her comments came as Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe confirmed next month's budget will be based on a no deal Brexit,

"What I'm anxious to ensure is that Brexit isn't used as a pretext to deliver a hard budget or a further lurch to the right, leaving struggling working families in very difficult circumstances.

I've no doubt you'll see a bit of theatre, a bit of pushing and shoving and posturing, but make no mistake, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are in this very much together.

"I've heard them both talk out loud about carbon taxes. Let me just say we are very much opposed to any measure that puts pressure on families who are just about making ends meet and are now increasingly anxious," Ms McDonald said.

In a later speech to party delegates, Ms McDonald added: "The forthcoming budget will be delivered as we approach the Brexit crescendo. Never before has the need to deliver a progressive and fair budget been more acute.

"Leo Varadkar, Paschal Donohoe and this Fine Gael government must realise that Brexit will impact everybody. If we are all in this together, that means no one can be left behind."

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