Seanad debates

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

3:30 pm

Photo of Rose Conway WalshRose Conway Walsh (Sinn Fein)

I want to deal with the budget. No matter how it is spun, it is an anti-rural budget and it fails to give workers and families a break. I will demonstrate for the Minister of State a couple of ways it does that. The overarching litmus test for the budget was whether it narrowed the gap between the haves and the have nots and if measures contained in it lead to a fairer redistribution of wealth, provide equality of opportunity and equal access to essential public services that are fit for purpose. I do not believe it has done that. Has it been rural-proofed, and will it address the regional imbalances that previous budgets have premeditated?

As demonstrated in Sinn Féin's alternative budget, Deputy Pearse Doherty clearly established how the books could be balanced by ending the tax avoidance scheme. I acknowledge the Minister has done a couple of things in this budget that we have wanted to do for a long time in respect of real estate taxes and some of the tax avoidance measures. They do not go far enough in terms of the redistribution we need to be able to provide the services but I appreciate that he has at least started the journey. In the alternative budget we have shown how we could use the money from the tax avoidance schemes for the golden circle to address the needs of those who are continuously policed and made to wait for services and supports they desperately need. I refer to people being continuously policed. I have an insurance quote here for a local business that provides a lot of employment in the area.

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