Dáil debates

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Financial Resolutions - Budget Statement 2020

 

2:55 pm

Photo of Barry CowenBarry Cowen (Offaly, Fianna Fail)

We were assured. The truth, however, is on the ground and in hospitals throughout the country. The truth was to be found in Tullamore earlier this week when I was confronted by that vista. That is the response I received, and that in no way, shape or form reflects on the ability and commitment of the staff who wish to deliver those packages. It is a reflection on the Government and its commitment to that project.

I will conclude by recalling that in 2016 the country stood uncertain after a volatile election. Fianna Fáil took action to make sure we had stable government. We changed the direction of the country by stemming the Fine Gael tax cut agenda and ensured the State emphasised investing in public services.

We took on the messy compromises that are the bread and butter of politics. We have worked to make sure centre ground politics deliver for ordinary people, who want nothing more than a functioning Government that listens to their needs. It has not been easy. The path has been difficult, but we stuck to it. Once again last December, faced with the grave threat of Brexit, our party leader did the right thing and provided political certainty. While others avoided responsibility and continue to do so, we stood up to the mark whether people like it or not.

The reason the Thirty-second Dáil is still in place and this Government is still in power is Brexit, pure and simple. That is what today ultimately boils down to. This is a Brexit budget. It would be dishonest and reckless to ignore the gathering storm and plunge the country into the unknowns an election would bring, but the day is coming when a decade of power will end for Fine Gael. No one looking at the dream of home ownership slip away from a generation, the scandals of runaway costs in capital projects or the deepening crisis in our health service could hope for otherwise. The republic of photo opportunities built up over the past ten years has long since been exposed as all spin and no substance. The party of prudence has turned into a party of recklessness. Confronted by the challenge of Brexit, Fianna Fáil will hold firm. We will see through our agreement and ensure that. in the crucial weeks ahead, our country will present a united front. There is too much at stake to risk it all for political party gain. Let us harden our resolve over these difficult days and match the challenge ahead so that we will be in a position to go the country, having stood firm and realised the ambition everybody has here to assist this country to have the resolve to withstand what it faces.

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