Opposition parties have reacted strongly to Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan’s 2011 Budget stating it does not provide sufficient stimulus measures for the economy and middle and lower income earners are being asked to shoulder the gross incompetence of the present government.
Fine Gael’s finance spokesman Michael Noonan said it was the budget of a “puppet government” obeying their new masters the IMF and ECB, while allowing the State to draw down bailout funds.
Speaking following the publication of Budget 2011, Deputy Noel Coonan said Minister Brian Lenihan may have exempted old age pensioners from draconian cutbacks but carers, widowers, people with disabilities and the blind will all suffer from unfair cuts and will be paying for the “sins of the banks.”
Deputy Coonan stated: “Budget 2011 lacks imagination and any incentive for job creation. It does not inspire confidence and symbolises an old tired Government that should resign and vanish. How any Independent Deputy could support this Government bearing in mind what it has done to our people, beggars belief; especially on the pretence that old people are being looked after while carers, widowers, people with disabilities and the blind are made pay for the sins of the bank. Carers provide an invaluable service, saving the country millions, but these giving people are being penalized instead of rewarded and that is beyond grasp.
It’s unbelievable that any public representative could sell out our country for private benefits, while the Minister imposes a 4% reduction in most social welfare payments, resulting in a reduction of €8 to carers and those who are blind. Fine Gael is totally opposed to cutting payments to the most vulnerable.”
Speaking on agriculture the Deputy stated:
“Agriculture is the one industry which can save us and it has been ignored and was not worthy of even a mention in the Budget. Those on negative equity were also ignored. It’s those who are disadvantaged and vulnerable who will shoulder the majority of the burden yet again.”
Social groups are today digesting the details of Budget 2011. Barnardos says there is despair in many Irish households as a result of the cuts in child benefit.
The Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed says Ireland is a much colder place for those out of work, while Respond, the housing association, says cuts to social welfare and child benefit will inflict further hardship on families.