Budget 'an affront to the notion of equality' - IFN

The Irish Feminist Network (IFN) has condemned the measures contained in the Social Welfare Bill 2011 which they say amount to an attack on women and children.

Said IFN co-ordinator Alison Spillane, “While we welcome the Minister’s decision to remove the sections relating to cuts and changes to the Disability Allowance, this Bill still contains a number of extremely regressive measures which will make life even more difficult for thousands of people and serve to decrease domestic demand and stifle the economy further.

Budget developed with a microscope when a telescope was required

Budget 2012 “was developed with a microscope when a telescope was required” according to human rights and justice group Social Justice Ireland. The group has criticised the Government’s failure to focus on longer term and wider issues such as declining domestic demand, persistent long-term unemployment, public debt sustainability and growing poverty and inequality.

'Hyper-austerity the wrong route to recovery' - TASC

In an initial response to the public spending cuts announced by Minister Brendan Howlin as part of Budget 2012, director of independent economic think tank TASC Nat O’Connor said that, although some individual measures announced by Minister Howlin yesterday were to be welcomed, the overall package of cuts announced represents a continuation of an economic strategy that has not worked.  O’Connor warned against embedding what he termed a “low-spend, low-tax economic model of economic development” which will render our economy less resilient and perpetuate inequality.

Extension of guarantee 'most expensive U-turn in Dáil history'

Speaking during a Dáil debate on extending the banking guarantee by twelve months today Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty accused Fine Gael and Labour of "the single biggest and most expensive political U-turn in Dáil history" and of writing "another blank cheque for the banks, including Anglo Irish Bank."

Said Doherty:

World must act on UN report on Syria - Amnesty

Amnesty International today urged states to act on a UN report confirming that Syrian security forces committed crimes against humanity during their violent crackdown on demonstrators this year.

The UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry’s report, released in Geneva yesterday, called on the Government of Syria to launch “independent and impartial investigations of these violations and to bring perpetrators to justice”.

Proposal to create 100,000 part-time jobs

Budget 2012 should introduce a new programme to create 100,000 real part-time jobs for long-term unemployed people according to Social Justice Ireland.  “Economic forecasts indicate that long-term unemployment will increase further in the period ahead” according to Dr Seán Healy, Director of Social Justice Ireland.  "Action on a substantial scale is required urgently.”

Budget 2012: Tax more, cut less

Claiming Our Future have launched a new campaign - Wealth Tax: Fair Dues - urging the Government to increase taxes on the wealthy rather than cutting public expenditure in Budget 2012.

They say:

Cutting public expenditure and increasing taxes on lower income earners is a choice that will hit those least able to cope with the crisis and will hamper our chances of recovery.

'What is the point of the Irish Labour Party?'

Yesterday in the Dáil, Socialist Party and ULA TD for Dublin West Joe Higgins asked Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore to "explain the point of the Irish Labour Party given that it brings to the debate on the current crisis absolutely nothing different in the slightest from Merkel, Sarkozy and all the high priests and hawks of right wing, neoliberal capitalism?" Read an edited transcript of the bad-tempered exchange which followed below. 

Bond payment 'an obscenity' - Noonan (2010)

Yesterday the Government refused to allow a debate on the payment of a controversial €700 million to unsecured, unguaranteed Anglo bondholders. However, Stephen Donnelly, independent TD for Wicklow and East Carlow, took the opportunity during the day's session to remind Michael Noonan of his comments in December 2010 regarding unguaranteed bonds. The text of his speech is below.

I will cite the words of the Minister in a contribution he made in the House on 15 December 2010 when he was essentially the Minister for Finance in waiting: