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Financial Resolution No. 5: General (Resumed)

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Snippet Contents:

The Taoiseach stated this morning that the main thrust of the budget was to keep the recovery moving, yet much of the analysis of the budget shows that it will reward the small minority at the top the most. This is the fifth budget the Government has introduced and it has followed the same trend. The analysis of the trade union think thank, TASC, of last year's triple effect of changes to tax bands, tax rates and USC rates found that budget 2015 had given the biggest cash return, in absolute and relative terms, to those earning €70,000 or over. This budget will do the same. It is clear that higher earners are experiencing recovery and that the Government wants to continue to reward them with more and more money, while public services that hold our society together crumble. The budget will put €181.9 million into the pockets of the top 14% of earners by way of tax cuts but spend a miserly €18 million extra on health services and €24 million on the resource-starved education system.
When will the homeless have a voice in this Chamber? When will those faced with losing their home have a sympathetic ear? More importantly, when will they have a champion for their cause in Government Buildings? When, if ever, will the Government wake up to the crisis facing more and more families? How many more homeless people will have to die and how many more families will have to endure raising their children in a hotel or bed and breakfast accommodation with just a kettle? The number of children living in homeless facilities has grown during the Government's enlightened term. Rents and social housing lists have grown during its term. When will it declare an emergency and address the issue of rent regulation? The answer is perhaps never.
The hopes and aspirations of citizens have not grown during the Government's term, but the number of citizens at risk of poverty has. Income inequality has grown during the Government's term. Mickey Mouse job activation schemes have grown during its term, while the idea of a fair society has been hammered under its watch. The number of people working on low wages has grown during the Government's term, while the number of patients on trolleys has increased. Is it any wonder that Irish citizens, especially young people, have continued to leave the State in increasing numbers since the Government began its term of office? Over 500,000 have left since 2008. Will this be the Government's legacy?