Wednesday, 5 October 2005
Social Welfare Benefits.
Ruairi Quinn (Dublin South East, Labour)
This is one of the meanest and cruellest types of bookkeeping and accountancy. It is coming from the same administration that can manage to lose millions of euro elsewhere in the public budget but still has the energy and capacity to scrutinise the €6 weekly contribution on top of rent in special senior citizens accommodation as their contribution towards the heating bill. Somebody somewhere spotted they were making this contribution but that it was not the full cost and has reduced the heating allowance accordingly. It is mind-boggling in its meanness. It is astounding in its attention to detail at a time when the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources claimed on radio this morning that the loss of €170 million was chickenfeed in the context of an annual €40 billion budget.
The Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children will realise the health contribution which secure and well-insulated heated accommodation provides for elderly people. Taking away this facility from pensioners to augment their heating could mean they get sick and present themselves to hospitals, meaning no overall saving to the health budget. This is meanness personified which represents all the characteristics of this Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrats Administration.