Dáil debates

Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Financial Resolutions 2022 - Financial Resolution No. 6: General: Financial Resolution (Resumed)


5:15 pm

Photo of Gino KennyGino Kenny (Dublin Mid West, People Before Profit Alliance) | Oireachtas source

I want to acknowledge the work done by the Minister of State, Deputy Rabbitte, and the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Deputy O'Gorman, on the issues they have acknowledged in their speeches. It is welcome that there is progress on those issues. I want to start on a positive note because sometimes there is a lot of negativity around here. I will get to the negative part later. A lot of money was splashed out in yesterday's budget. In my time here, this is an unprecedented financial intervention by the Government. It is warranted because we are facing a cost-of-living crisis the likes of which we have not seen for a number of decades. When working people see their standards of living going down rather than up then we have a serious issue. The cost of living has shaped this budget, and it will probably shape the next one because these inflationary issues will not go away. There are external and internal factors. There are also people profiteering from this crisis, including the energy companies and companies such as big supermarkets and retail companies that are making vast amounts of money on foot of the ongoing crisis.

The fundamentals of the issues at hand are still real and that is what shaped the last general election two and a half years ago. The reasons that people rejected Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil come down to issues relating to public services, namely, housing and health, and income inequality. They were the fundamentals that still exist to this day and that is why people are listening today and yesterday to hear what effects the budget will have on their lives. A great deal of money has been passed around and that will trickle down, but the big question is whether it will have an effect on people's livelihoods or mitigate the cost-of-living crisis, which is the idea. There is a big question mark around that because there are major shocks on the horizon in people's livelihoods in heat, food and so forth. Questions have to be asked in that regard.

On the Minister for Health's contribution to the debate, I welcome the progress made on hospital charges and GP visits, which is very good. Nobody has said this but the overall health budget has gone down relative to inflation. The mental health budget is 5% while Sláintecare has always stated that it should be 10% and again that has not kept up with inflationary pressures. Inflationary pressures are at least 9% so that is a cut. Most workers in the State are taking a pay cut of up to €2,000, which is unsustainable inflation.

There are welcome factors in this budget and there are also the fundamentals that are still not being challenged. They have to be seriously addressed, particularly housing. It is unacceptable that 10,000 people and more are in emergency accommodation. Even if we had €120 billion, having 11,000 people in emergency accommodation is completely unacceptable and in other countries the Government would be expelled completely and there would be a general election. There are huge issues, particularly for working people who feel poorer than they did last year. Will this mitigate the decline in their standard of living? There are big question marks in respect of that matter.


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