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This Government doggedly confuses hard decisions with bad choices.
It looks for the soft options, for soft targets.
Labour and Fine Gael share the same perverse instincts as the last Fianna Fáil-led administration, that punishing struggling families is somehow fair.
Fine Gael and Labour’s Budget 2013 announcements have failed the fairness test. This budget is deeply unfair to those on low incomes, to children, to single parent families, to homeowners in negative equity and to the elderly.
The treatment of children in this budget is disgraceful. It runs against all the fine words and concern for child welfare expressed in the course of the children’s referendum only some weeks ago.
The cut to child benefit, increase in pupil teacher ratio, and the abolition of the PRSI exemption will all impact badly on children.
The spectacle of a Government that talks tough when punishing its own people and yet time and again returns home from European Council meetings with its tail between its legs, is truly pitiful. It is unworthy of those that Fine Gael and Labour are supposed to represent.
When will this Government have the tough talk with Angela Merkel? Or with the lads from the troika? Has the Minister for Finance or the Taoiseach even told them that the people cannot and should not be expected to pay for the banks’ bad debts?
Of course we know the answer to this. If this Government is unable to secure a deal on the debt burden, on the Anglo promissory note, if it is incapable of deficit reduction that doesn’t crush low and middle income families, then it is simply not up to the job of government.
Fianna Fáil brought this state to its knees. Now Labour and Fine Gael are keeping it there.
Fianna Fáil sheltered the rich, now Labour and Fine Gael follow suit.
Their choice is to protect those at the top and punish the rest. Don’t waffle about fairness. Labour and Fine Gael are not fair.
The budget is testament to that.
Cllr Rachel McCarthy
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