Tuesday, 8 October 2019
Financial Resolutions - Budget Statement 2020
No. The offering in respect of public childcare provision is zero. Where the provision of childcare places is concerned, we are facing demographic changes.
That is one of the biggest issues facing people in this country and the Government has failed significantly to deal with it.
I welcome the increased number of gardaí coming through Templemore but while the announcement is welcome, like so many other matters, it is to deal with demographic increases. We are only catching up. We are not even going to be at the strength that is necessary. The members of the Government should not pat one another on the back because, in reality, the increase will not have much impact.
In education, there is no change to the pupil-teacher ratio, despite the capacity to move on that. Once again, there was nothing of any magnitude to deal in any way with third-level funding issues. Working principals in small schools are being discriminated against and are leaving the education sector. They have 48 circulars to deal with in one calendar year and they are expected to teach in addition to that. Principals have made submission after submission and proven their point so many times yet the Minister ignores them.
We have nothing of real substance for the disability sector. I demonstrated to the Minister why those who are vulnerable will lose financially from the budget. Rural Ireland has suffered hugely under the Government, which is simply not at the races when it comes to transport infrastructure, water and waste infrastructure and town and village renewal. There are no measures that will have real impacts, although they could have been introduced in the budget. The Government is pretending it is dealing with issues on a cross-government basis but, in real terms, towns around the country are dying and Project Ireland 2040 will kill them off. The budget is a complete and utter failure but, thankfully, it is the final budget of the Government. The Government looks exhausted and the Opposition is exhausted looking at it, so we will all be thankful for that.