Over the last year our economy has gone from bad to worse. Unemployment has doubled in the last 12 months which has hit every sector, every region and every family in Ireland. From canvassing and meeting people the emotional hurt and anger of unemployment, debt and life’s struggles are very evident. People yearn for hope and for politicians to listen and act on their behalf. Job creation and protection must be at the heart of the budget. People want to work, no matter where they come from.
The state of our economy is a direct result of the economic mismanagement of this government and in particular, Fianna Fáil. All political parties agree that there is a need for €4 billion worth of savings; however we must ensure that when making these savings that they are done in a fair manner and vulnerable people in our society are protected.
Fine Gael accepts that there needs to be some tough decisions made due to the economic crisis we find ourselves in. While making tough decisions like a cut to social welfare you must at the same time offer hope. We have proposed a series of job creation policies, which would help to create jobs and get people back to work. This is the type of strategy that offers a vision to society; unfortunately this government offers very little inspiration.
This budget will be tough but as stated before, it needs to fair, protect the vulnerable and offer hope. The problem is that this government looks like it will tax people further, cut social welfare, services and attack the vulnerable in our society like children once more. Fianna Fáil sees this budget as a bookkeeping exercise and they don’t seem to be concerned what they cut or how it affects, just as long as they save €4 billion.
I ask the Minister for Finance, that tomorrow when he announces his third budget in 12 months, that he gets Ireland back to work, protects the vulnerable in society, and when he announces his tax increases, wage cuts and other taxation measures that he does so in a fair manner.
It is time for Government to put forward job creation proposals that give people hope and grounds for optimism once again.
Keep up to date with my Seanad Work on my Twitter site