Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that certain measures outlined in today’s Budget announcements can only be given a guarded and extremely cautious welcome. Deputy McGrath was speaking as the Budget statements delivered by Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin continue to receive fierce criticism from opposition Deputies:
“On the face of it there certainly appears to be a number of measures designed to give the impression that people will be better off after this Budget.
Increases in Child Benefit, the promise of new incentives for young farmers in terms of assistance for farmers who receive income from another job to supplement their income from agriculture are all to be welcomed.
That being said I am still deeply concerned that the €100 water charges waiver for recipients of the Household Benefits Package is entirely insufficient and untargeted to meet the levels of financial distress that exist out there.
I also have profound reservations about how effective the instruments designed to use the €2.2 Billion allocated for Social Housing can possibly be in terms of meeting the immediate nature of the crisis.
I think that as the days go on we will certainly see much of the shine taken off this Budget and people will see it for what it is; the first series of measures designed to guarantee Fine Gael and Labour another term of office.
In relation to health it is absolutely clear that the HSE will continue to function in a state of near chronic dysfunction because no new vision has emerged in relation to how to deal with the mismanagement that exists at the highest levels of that organisation.
I will await the oncoming debate in the Oireachtas to try and drag from this Government a more realistic account of the impact that will be had from the measures announced today, as opposed to the brave new departure from austerity that they would have us believe this is,” concluded Deputy McGrath.