Dáil debates

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

12:15 pm

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour) | Oireachtas source

The Taoiseach did exactly what I expected him to do. It is unfortunate. He did not answer the question and embrace the real economic needs of our people. He gave what is now becoming his stock election speech that Fine Gael is prudent and everybody else is profligate. Meanwhile, look at the true economy. The Taoiseach talks about GDP. We can argue about whether GDP is appropriate but the Taoiseach used the figure. We are now in the medium-50s in terms of our indebtedness. We now have the capacity to address the big social deficits we have in education and health and elsewhere to allow our economy to grow. If the economy grows, the level of debt falls. It is much more prudent to grow the economy and allow everybody to fulfil their full capacity rather than to constrain growth by not investing in our people. That is the debate I am asking for.

The Taoiseach talks about tax cuts. We are not talking about tax cuts. We opposed them last year. We agree with the ESRI that there is no room in our economy to cut taxes when we have so many social deficits to address. That is not the Taoiseach's policy. He has promised to cut taxes as he did last year. We say now that we have an historic opportunity to build a social infrastructure that meets the needs of the people who made such sacrifices to get our economy in the shape it is in today.


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