Thursday, 12 October 2017
Financial Resolutions 2018 - Financial Resolution No. 4: General (Resumed)
The Independent Alliance put our stamp on Government and we are helping the people when it comes to flooding. Why? It is because I feel it from the heart. I have seen people suffer.
Another achievement before we came in here was to get a balanced budget. The people were fed up taking money out of their pockets. This budget has stopped that for the first time under the stewardship of the Independent Alliance. We have been in government for two budgets and we have brought a balanced budget. I can say one thing - it is great for the people of this country. There is criticism in the House. We will take that criticism but we have to take baby steps before we take giant steps and before we can run. We now see ourselves coming out of the bad days of recession.
The Minister, Deputy Ross, has spoken about tourism. In the programme for Government, we decided to bring back the lakelands brand. Thanks to the Minister, Deputy Ross, and my colleagues in the Independent Alliance, we now have the lakelands brand back for the people of the midlands in Roscommon, Leitrim, Longford and Westmeath. It is absolutely brilliant news.
Nobody has talked about my initiative of the working scheme for people aged 50 and over. People can say what they like but during the recession people - not all, but some - found themselves unemployable once they hit the age of 50 because employers took on people of a younger generation. For the first time, we will give €10,000 to an employer to take somebody off the dole for 12 months and give them a living wage. This is something that will be rolled out next year. It is something the Independent Alliance brokered and of which it is very proud.
People have talked about housing. I have a housing Bill to keep people in their homes. It is somewhat overshadowed by the talk in here about housing and the big investment. The heads of the Bill will be done by the end of this month. It is the same with my other Bill on sexual offences. The same thing is happening under the stewardship of the Independent Alliance. There has been a lot of talk across the House, but the only thing they could find in here to criticise was €5 million for a PR company. That is the way the budget fell to the people. I do not need anybody to dress me up. If you put a new suit on Boxer, it is still Boxer. I will fight for what I believe in, which is people and not promoting myself.