Sinn Féin’s finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has warned the Minister for Finance “not to use Brexit as an excuse” in the forthcoming Budget.
Mr Doherty told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that Brexit was “very convenient to allow the Taoiseach wriggle off the hook” about previous promises such as tax cuts.
The opposition needs to be clear that it will not allow the government to use Brexit “as a way of not doing things.”
He also called for funds to be diverted from the Government’s Rainy Day Fund into a Brexit Stabilisation Fund.
There are strict and specific guidelines as to what the Rainy Day Fund can be used for, said Mr Doherty and it cannot be used “for dealing with Brexit.”
A Brexit Stabilisation Fund could be used for job stimulation, direct support for sectors such as agriculture and regional assistance, added Mr. Doherty.
The Donegal TD pointed out that some geographic areas will need help, especially Donegal which already suffers 12 per cent unemployment. “Donegal can’t take a blow like Brexit.”
When asked about a return of the Northern Ireland Assembly to deal with Brexit, Mr Doherty said that Sinn Féin wanted the return of the Assembly. But even if the Assembly was given the autonomy to decide on the type of backstop and even if there was a majority, the DUP could still override that.
“The DUP should not have a veto on Brexit.”
If that were to change then the Assembly “could be up and running very quickly,” he said.