Budget 2010: The reaction in quotes
“These are savage cuts and very little on the other side of the balance sheet, very little in terms of job creation or stimulation of the economy” - Pat Rabitte, Labour, Spokesperson on Justice.
“By cutting jobseeker’s allowance to a paltry level for young people, the Government is basically asking them to return to their parents’ home to live. This is unrealistic for most and will put many young people at a real risk of homelessness” - Aideen Hayden, Chairperson of Threshold.
“Is this some kind of bad joke? Joe, who has chronic arthritis, diabetes and a heart condition has to fork out for each of his 10 essential items of medication while Jim next door saves the same sum in the pub!... Cheaper drink, dearer medicine, (the) budget (is) bad for health” - Jan O'Sullivan TD, Labour Spokesperson on Health.
“We fully accept that tough decisions have to be taken to get the economy back on its feet again, but the cuts to welfare and public sector pay are very short sighted. The social housing and supports budget is being cut by a massive 27 per cent... At a time when homelessness and housing need are so high, this decision simply makes no sense (the decision to cut social welfare rates) is a betrayal of the Government’s commitment to protect the most vulnerable” - Joyce Loughnan, Chief Executive of Focus Ireland.
“In the short run the budget will actually deflate the economy further” - Moore McDowell, Economist.
“There can be no more difficult a choice than that now forced upon parents today - with a 10 per cent drop in child benefit and the introduction of 50 cent prescription charges, among other costs - to choose whether they heat their house, put food on the table or buy medicine... they - and our society - may take years to recover” Jillian van Turnhout, Chief Executive, Children’s Rights Alliance.
“The ugly paradox of Brian Linehan’s Budget is that he has done the right thing for the country but delivered harsh medicine to a great many of her citizens especially the most vulnerable on disability and carers allowances...What is surprising is the extent to which low paid public sector workers are expected to contribute. Linehan should have cut heavier at the middle and higher pay to protect workers earning under €30,000. This is a potentially fatal mistake because it includes those struggling with jumbo mortgages on homes bought at the top of the cycle” - Eddie Hobbs, Economist.
"Child benefit is a crucial part of family income - many women will be left wondering if they can afford to continue to work, given that childcare costs continue to rise. Women are also predominantly employed in lower paid public service jobs and are facing further pay cuts" - Susan McKay, Director of the National Women’s Council of Ireland.
“They’ve taken a small pay cut for ministers, presented it as a 15 per cent pay cut, the reality is its only 5, that means that the ministers getting the same level of pay reduction as somebody who comes in to clean his office. That is outrageous. ..it is deceptive and it is not fair” - George Lee, Fine Gael TD.
“Instead of going after the big polluters he is going after the old reliables of petrol, diesel and home heating. Big polluters get away with it and the ordinary citizen suffers...For those people on low incomes currently living in fuel poverty in sub-standard, local authority and privately rented accommodation the budget is cold comfort” Liz McManus TD, Labour Spokesperson on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.
“The majority of people have medical cards because they are either on low incomes or have very high medical costs because they are very sick...to charge them on a per-item basis is to penalise them for being ill and poor” - Eamon Timmins, Spokesman for Age Action.
“The Domicile levy of 200, 000 on certain high net with individuals resident outside of Ireland is unexpected and not something we have seen implemented in other jurisdictions. Its potential impact on investment in Ireland will need to be reviewed closely” - Robert Dowley, Partner, KPMG.
“An office cleaner in the Department of Finance will take a greater proportionate pay cut than Finance Minister Brian Lenihan,...Budget 2010 is not fair, not clever, and is not going to get the economy or the country back to work...This Budget should be about jobs, and about hope for the future. In fact, the Budget slashes capital spending, has no coherent jobs strategy, no relief for businesses facing high costs, and makes no allowance for the expected €6 billion recapitalisation of Anglo Irish Bank. The car scrappage scheme diverts spending from domestic services into car imports. We estimate this will destroy about 2,500 jobs in Ireland, to the benefit of car manufacturing countries like Germany and the UK...On the public sector pay issue, the Government flunked their own target of €1.3 billion in savings, but are still targeting those on low incomes for very significant cuts” - Richard Bruton, Fine Gael Deputy Leader & Finance Spokesman.