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Budget Statement 2019

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Snippet Contents:

If ever there was an example of a budget that was preparing for an election, it is probably this one. It is short-term rather than long-term in its outlook. No hard decisions have been made. It lacks foresight. It reminds me of some poetry by Seamus Heaney in which he wrote "And whatever you say, you say nothing." The budget is an example of the idea that whatever you do, do nothing. It is a budget that is essentially about making sure it does not upset people, particularly people who are perceived to be the core Fine Gael voters. It is an election budget. I warn the Minister that he has completely messed up. He has messed up on many fronts. On one particular front it is seismic and it will follow the Minister. That is the area of climate change. I know the Minister is worried about it. I will accentuate those worries.
We have had a huge amount of social change in the last number of years. Social change has been brought about because the people are ahead of politicians and many people in this House on many issues. The people are ahead of the people in this House when it comes to climate change. As the father of young children, I assure the Minister there is an intergenerational thing going on here as regards education and the fact we need to maintain our planet. We need to maintain it for future generations, including my children and the Minister of State's children. The Minister has let them down today through his lack of foresight and measures. He has let them down and it will have consequences for our country on a scale that has not been seen before. It will have consequence for our children. Politically and electorally it will have consequences for the Minister, Fine Gael and its colleagues in government.
We are one of the few countries that has climate change legislation. The failure to kick on from that and bring about measures to change behaviour will not go down well with the public because it is ahead of us on the need to change. It is around us. We will face it this Friday with another storm coming. We have seen the changes in our weather patterns over the past number of years. The public is up for this. If one was to be directly political about this, the public is conditioned for it but some of the Fine Gael lobbyists and vested interests are not. The can is being kicked down the road until we will be at a detrimental stage. It will have consequences for the Minister. He has totally underestimated the sentiments of people on this issue. Working people will have to pay fairly significant fines in future as a result of the Minister's lack of foresight. The Minister for Finance spoke absolute garbage in his few words about putting in place plans and assessments on the implementation of this. To the naked political eye, anyone looking at this can see the Minister did not have the capacity or political will to take on the most significant issue facing every generation after us, which is climate change, a couple of days after the most detrimental UN report on this issue ever. Our modern country, which is a country of perceived wealth, has ignored it. They are the facts. It is an indictment of the Minister and his colleagues at the Cabinet table.