Wednesday, 28 September 2022
Financial Resolutions 2022 - Financial Resolution No. 6: General: Financial Resolution (Resumed)
Only 0.4% of the Government spending announced yesterday will go towards addiction. It is an insult to those working on the front line, to those in our community who are saving lives and families every single day. Sinn Féin's addiction and recovery budget was ten times that of the Minister. It was a €45 million suite of measures that would not have fixed all the problems but would have made a real difference. The Minister delivered a weak half-hearted, unambitious €4 million.
A survey by Merchants Quay Ireland found that six in ten Irish adults have direct experience of addiction either through family members, friends or themselves. The Minister has failed to deliver for every single one of those people in the budget that was announced yesterday. We would have restored power to the community sector. Drug and alcohol task forces are still operating with 11% less funding than they had 11 years ago. The Minister did not add one red cent to those this year. How can the Government stand over that budget? With €11 billion announced yesterday, what has it delivered for the addiction services? It is too little. It is so disrespectful to those in addiction, those in recovery and those who are trying to support them.
We are faced with a Minister who did not go to bat for the vulnerable people he is supposed to represent. People, families and communities deserve better. They deserve a Minister who understands, listens and acts. They deserve a Minister and a Government that care. The budget announced yesterday is not that.
I listened to the Minister of State, Deputy Fleming speaking earlier. How is it possible that a person who earns over €100,000 a year will be four times better off than people who earn €36,000 or less? The facts are clear. The people have said it today and not just Sinn Féin or the Opposition. ALONE, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and all the other groups have said that this budget has not delivered for ordinary people. It has not delivered for health or for housing, for pensioners or for students. It must be unbelievable for a Government to have €11 billion to spend and to make a bags of the budget. The people will not forget it.