Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has described Budget 2022 as a budget with no direction from a government with no vision.
Addressing the Dáil today, Ms McDonald said it was a “do-nothing budget without any answers to the big questions in housing, healthcare, childcare and the cost of living.”
Teachta McDonald said:
“This should have been the budget to get the basic rights right, to put workers and families first.
“The crisis in housing has defined life in Ireland for more than a decade. Rents are sky-high. The average rent in this city is €1800 per month.
“You have included absolutely nothing to relieve the pressure on renters, nothing that will cut rents or bring them under control. It does nothing to make homes more affordable, nothing to get families off council waiting lists, nothing to make things better for the locked-out generation.
“Sinn Féin would have cut rents and banned rent increases for three years. And we would have shut down these tax breaks for vulture funds and institutional investors.
“Sinn Féin would have doubled state investment to deliver 12,000 real social homes and 8,000 genuine affordable homes. This is the action and urgency that is needed to deal with this crisis and give people hope for the future.”
Teachta McDonald said that the Budget fails to address record waiting lists which she described as the most “immediate challenge in health today.”
“The consequence is the one million people on waiting lists, locked out of vital treatment. This is the most immediate challenge in health today and yet there is nothing of substance in this Budget to deal with it.
“There were 450 people on trolleys yesterday. In the middle of a health emergency, you will not deliver one additional acute bed next year. It is absolutely scandalous that you have not prioritised tackling wait lists, Taoiseach.
“The message to those waiting is that their wait will go on. We need a health service that works for everyone, Taoiseach. That’s why Sinn Féin provided the finance for an additional 600 beds and the plan and resources to tackle waiting lists.”
Teachta McDonald added that the government had failed to take direct action on the cost of living, especially childcare and she criticised the coalition for introducing another carbon hike that will only drive up energy further.
“Workers and families are being hammered. The cost of living is now at crisis levels. Families are paying huge fees for childcare. Sinn Féin would have slashed those fees by two-thirds over two budgets.
“You could have done that but you chose not to. Instead you unveiled a plan that will have very little impact and mean nothing for parents with children under the age of three. Another real opportunity to make a big difference has been squandered.
“Sinn Féin would provide affordable childcare for parents and deliver decent pay and secure employment for childcare workers.
“Households have endured a litany of hikes in energy bills in the last year alone. Many will see their bills shoot-up between €400 and €500 in the coming months.
“What was your response to the pressure people are under? Another hike in Carbon Tax that will push up energy and fuel costs even further.
“You have proceeded with this hike without putting in place alternatives that allow people to transition to a low-carbon lifestyle. The truth is that vulnerable people and low-wage workers will foot the bill for this hike.”
Ms McDonald said that ordinary people have been let down badly by the sixth budget introduced by the Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael Partnership.
“This is the sixth budget that the Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil partnership has introduced and by god does it show. This budget, like the previous five, will come and go and nothing will really change for ordinary people.
“This is a budget of big numbers but with very little substance. A budget that throws money left, right and centre but it doesn’t actually solve anything.
“Never has a government spent so much to achieve so little.”