Tuesday, 8 October 2019
Financial Resolutions - Budget Statement 2020
Another year and another Fine Gael budget that is all style and no substance. The Government has shown that it cannot properly budget for our vital public services or give struggling families a break. The good people of the northside, who I have the honour of representing, will not be taken in by the Minister for Finance standing in this Chamber and saying that things are going swimmingly and what a great job Fine Gael is doing for this State. Meanwhile, Dublin city is choking. Almost 3,000 children are growing up in hotel rooms across this city. Parents are at their wits' end just trying to make ends meet and Fine Gael cannot bring itself to do the right thing by the honest, hardworking people of this State.
Its bedfellows in Fianna Fáil sit on the sidelines and offer only token opposition, as it has done for the past three years. Fianna Fáil has let down the people of Dublin just as much as its partners on the Fine Gael benches. It will pass another Fine Gael budget that is dead set on maintaining the status quo of the haves and have-nots, of the elite and the struggling. A few bob to cover the astronomical cost of childcare will not convince a single family that this Government is on their side because it never has been, and never will be.
Dublin has become one of the most expensive cities in the world to have a child in and the Government does not seem to have a clue as to how to give working families a break. We in Sinn Féin have a plan to radically transform the entire childcare sector, while Fine Gael and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Deputy Zappone, are content to just grant another meagre concession that will be swallowed up within a year when prices go up yet again. There is nothing in this budget for renters while the winners are those profiteering from the housing crisis, just as it has been for every Fine Gael budget we have seen. People across this city from Cabra to Crumlin to Coolock are all united by the dread of another year passing and the rents going up. Rent pressure zones are not working and there is no hope on the horizon for anyone stuck in the rent trap under this Government.
Sinn Féin would help renters by introducing an emergency freeze on rents and bringing in rent relief that would save them the equivalent of one month's rent each year. Budgets are about choices and Sinn Féin chooses to invest in services that will make a real difference to ordinary families by reducing the cost of living and allowing those families the benefit of knowing that a parent does not have to give up work to mind a child or children; that if that child falls sick, there is a bed for them in a hospital and not a trolley or a never-ending waiting list; and that they need not panic the next time the car breaks down or schoolbooks need to be bought. The budget cannot be about just getting by.
It must be about ensuring that people have a decent life. We need to give working families a break, not to talk down to them and tell them we know best and that they should work harder. People are working harder; harder than the Government and its Fianna Fáil sidekicks, that is for sure.