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Snippet Contents:

In a similar vein, I wish to oppose these Estimates and the overall philosophy that lies behind them. I agree with Fianna Fáil that it is suspicious and problematic that we are not having a proper discussion on these Estimates, which are being rushed through in a very short amount of time. We spent a great deal of time talking about tax changes when we debated the budget, but it seems that the Government does not want to discuss spending. This is pretty symptomatic of the Government's neoliberal approach, which might be expected of Fine Gael but is extraordinarily disappointing from the Labour Party. I remind the House that the neoliberal philosophy, having led us to a disastrous pass by generating an unprecedented economic crisis, was singularly unable to steer Europe out of that crisis by moving away from the neoliberal model of low taxes and privatisation towards a model that recognises the need to invest and spend in order to generate the sustainable employment, public services and infrastructure that can form the basis of a decent, civilised and fair society.
I could use the short amount of time available to me to talk about many specific aspects of these Estimates, such as the need to increase health spending radically way beyond the marginal bare increase that has been much trumpeted but is hardly significant at a time when the health service is crumbling. Rather than going into that, I will focus on the extraordinary trumpeting by the Government of what is supposed to be the biggest ever package for social housing. Some of us have been trying to drill beneath the fanfare and the announcements in order to debate the substance of this issue. I found something in the Estimates that completely belies the Government's claim that it has embarked on a major new social housing programme.