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Confidence in the Government: Motion [Private Members] (Continued)

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 786 No. 1

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Martin Ferris: Information on Martin Ferris Zoom on Martin Ferris] Nor has it the mandate to continue the failed policies of Fianna Fáil. The onslaught on unfortunate people dependent on State support and those organisations which deliver the support services to these people, which incidentally saves the taxpayer millions each year, are not on the Government's radar. The Government's actions confirm Fine Gael and Labour have an agenda against the less well-off. Whichever party is responsible for it, both parties are complicit by the fact they continue to penalise people with disabilities, students and families.

  Along with all other sectors of the community, farmers were also negatively impacted by the budget. Among the areas where the axe fell were the disadvantaged area scheme, the sheep grassland payment and the suckler cow welfare scheme, as well as cuts to farm assist. These cuts will penalise less well-off farmers.

  I wish to read into the record correspondence I, along with every other Member, received today, particularly for the attention of the Ministers opposite, Deputies Howlin and Varadkar and the Minister of State, Deputy O' Dowd. The e-mail states:

My name is X and l am a lone parent, full-time minder to my two young daughters, Sarah, 12, years old and Amy, 15, years old. I am a former civil servant, retired early on health grounds and on a very small pension. Amy suffers with chronic complex congenital heart disease, is attending Crumlin for haematology services, dermatology services and specific dental services. Amy has also developed amiodarone-induced thyrotoxicosis, which at the moment, means fortnightly checks by the endocrinology team.

  I would not know where to begin to try and describe to you what a day in the life of this household is like. Amy has had five open heart surgeries and 32 other surgical interventions, countless trips up and down to Crumlin. She has had two tours of duty in Southampton General Hospital lasting 2 months each, where they saved her life on several occasions. The HSE responded with a €1,000 grant to cover our costs, which ran in excess of €15,000. We have even spent Christmas Day in Crumlin, a memorable affair thanks to the staff of St. Brigid's ward.

  I will not get started on the HSE. They recently "lost" four completed application forms for Amy's medical card which was due for renewal in February this year. Amy's medical card was issued in May this year and is valid only to February 2013, whereby the whole game starts all over again. The absence of bad language in the last three lines is nothing short of miraculous.

  So what is Santa bringing Amy and Sarah [me] this year: a reduction in child allowance; annual respite care grant reduced from €1,700 to €1,375; car tax increase; a reduction in the household benefits package; local property tax; prescription charges tripled; the threshold for the drugs payment scheme increased.

All of this is happening on the Minister's watch. You are responsible for Amy's well-being and her life. Your Government and those Members opposite who support it are directly responsible for what has happened in this case.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Deputy Ferris, through the Chair please.

Deputy Martin Ferris: Information on Martin Ferris Zoom on Martin Ferris That is what has happened to a 12 year old child in this country. That is what has been carried out in the name of this country by this Government.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin The Deputy is a disgrace.

Deputy Martin Ferris: Information on Martin Ferris Zoom on Martin Ferris That child is only barely surviving. Her father, a lone parent, is trying to ensure she does survive. She gets no support services from the State and the family was offered a measly €1,000 for treatment in the UK which cost €15,000. She has had five open heart surgeries along with 32 other surgical interventions. That is why I, this party and the people out there have no confidence in this Government. That is why the people are disgusted with the Deputies opposite for supporting the wrongs being carried out by the Government.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae I thank Deputy Ferris and Sinn Féin for sharing time with me.

Last year, at the opening of a care facility for helping people with special needs in Kenmare, County Kerry, when the Taoiseach met Donal Harrington, he put his hands around his back and told him not to worry as the Government would look after him and his wife. Donal is the full-time carer for his daughter, Georgia, who has special needs. They live in Hawthorn Woods, Kenmare and are a respectable family doing their best. Donal, like myself and others, took the Taoiseach at this word then. However, it turned out to be broken promise. The Taoiseach and the Government have taken a chunk of the respite care grant from the likes of Donal. It is a desperately needed grant. Every penny is accounted for and it is not a slush fund.

Our young people who are living in houses they cannot afford were promised they would be helped by Fine Gael and Labour if they were elected to government. Now, their children's allowance has been cut and a property tax will be imposed on them by a Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government who did not even have the courtesy to come into the Dáil last week for the budget. It is the first time in the history of the State that a property tax will be introduced and the Minister responsible did not see fit to stay in Ireland but had business to attend to in other parts of the world.

Our elderly people who built this country, and for whom we all have great respect, were promised they too would be taken care of. What have they got? They have to pay the property tax and endure cuts to their household packages. More broken promises. Promises made and promises broken.

The only thing our students did not get during the last election was a pledge written in blood. The Minister in question knew he would be Minister after the election but went ahead and signed a pledge declaring no cuts to student grants or an increase in fees if in power. The students bought it then. If I were a student, I would have bought it too. We all took it hook, line and sinker but Labour and Fine Gael will not catch them again. Promises made and promises broken.

Our farmers believed they would be taken care of by the Government. It must be remembered these are the people who have to put up with the worst type of weather with all types of problems facing them but they do not have the comfort of any agreement taking care of their income. They have been cut and cut again and now must suffer another €80 million to be cut from agriculture funding.

Rural Garda stations are being closed by a Minister for Justice and Equality whose breathtaking arrogance both inside and outside this Chamber is incredible – if one passed him on the corridor, one would note he is oozing arrogance. He sold out rural Ireland by closing down a further 100 Garda stations when it will not save one cent. I have proof that it will actually cost more money to keep Garda stations closed rather than it would to keep them open.

At this stage, the public will remember for a long time the lies, the misleading and mistruths done by Fine Gael and Labour. Deputy Ferris and I know how Government party Members go to community meetings declaring about how they are all about standing with the people when in fact they will do the divil and all for the people. When they come up to Dublin, they forget all about it. They are delivering nothing at home only pain, hardship and misfortune. They are trying to give the impression they are doing something for the people when they are not. When they come up here it is a different story because we know it as we see it at first hand.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin I wish to share time with Deputies Varadkar and O'Dowd.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Is that agreed? Agreed.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin I move amendment No. 1:

To delete all words after “Dáil Éireann” and substitute the following:
“has confidence in the Government as it deals with the current economic crisis in as fair a manner as possible, while prioritising economic recovery and job creation.”

It is usual when a motion of confidence is moved in this House that there is some expectation that it might be successful. This is not such an occasion. The motion before the House amounts to little more than political posturing by the Sinn Féin party.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien The Minister would know a lot about that.

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