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Financial Resolution No. 5: General (Resumed)

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Financial Resolution No. 5: General (Resumed)

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Snippet Contents:

It is from a woman who is retired. She had to leave the workforce to look after her elderly mother and aunt for a number of years. In previous years she would have been eligible for a pension as her contributions would have been up to the criterion. However, she could not believe it when she discovered that she was no longer entitled, because of the sneaky change introduced by the Labour Party and Fine Gael in 2012. That is the reason older people among the public are angry. They can see through all the fog and spin in their daily lives.
The Minister for Finance, Deputy Noonan, announced the end of the private pensions levy as if it were some major concession. It has been both socially and economically damaging. It was morally wrong. Many people with pension funds outside the public service are very angry about what was done. Their pensions were raided, with no planning put in place for the pensions crisis that is about to hit us. It was a bad policy which probably cost the State more than it collected due to reduced investment. It should never have been introduced in the first place. Overall, no significant improvements or reforms have been proposed for social protection, which is an appropriate symbol of five years of neglect and regressive cuts by this Government.
Child care is another area where the Government continues to make it up as it goes along. It clearly decided that it had to announce something on child care but it was unable or unwilling to do it comprehensively. The announced scheme is a mess which does not extend child care in a sustainable way. Three hours of care for 38 weeks a year means that working parents will still have to put in place almost full-time arrangements paid for from their own pockets. A comprehensive child care system is urgently needed and it is affordable. That is the reason Fianna Fáil gave priority to child care in its budget proposals. I have no doubt that this will be a major issue during the coming election campaign.
Fine Gael and the Labour Party spent four years sitting on their hands as an entirely avoidable housing emergency developed. As soon as public outrage reached boiling point, they started announcing emergency measures. Yesterday, we had the sixth housing announcement of 2015. It is still too little and too late. The Minister, Deputy Noonan, made the entirely false claim last night that, “there was not a single social housing unit built under Fianna Fáil”.