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Financial Resolutions 2020

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Financial Resolutions 2020\Budget Statement 2021

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Budget Statement 2021

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Deputy Pearse Doherty

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Snippet Contents:

Today's budget comes at a time like no other, a time of great uncertainty and, for many, hardship. Covid-19 has upended and disrupted the lives of us all.
Táimid ag déileáil leis an cháinaisnéis seo ag am iontach annamh. Seo am ina bhfuil a lán neamhchinnteacht agus do go leor, seo am an chruacháis. Bhí tionchar ag Covid-19 orainn uilig agus tá ár saol bun os cionn mar gheall air sin.
It has impacted people in different ways. Citizens with disabilities face unprecedented challenges, with many at breaking point. Families have seen their incomes drop and they worry how they will cover their bills at the end of the month. Our health service, underfunded and mismanaged by Fine Gael for a decade, is under severe pressure like never before. Businesses are fighting for their very survival. This budget needed to respond to this and the continuing threat posed by Brexit by protecting workers and families as they face the continued threat of Covid-19. This budget needed to provide certainty - certainty that their incomes will not fall off a cliff, certainty that the Government will do all it can to protect their jobs, and certainty that our health service has the capacity to weather the storms ahead. This budget has failed to provide that certainty. It repeats a pattern of behaviour that has marked this Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael Government since it took power – indecisive, unprepared, too slow to act and lacking the ambition this moment demands.
The Government will defend this budget with worn-out excuses and will say it is all it can afford. It will say it cannot tackle the major cracks in our society just at this time and that we must wait. However, not only is that not good enough, it is simply not true. A decade ago, taxpayers bailed out the banks to the tune of €64 billion, picking up the pieces after Fianna Fáil torpedoed our economy and wrecked the public finances. Today, we had an opportunity to do something very different - to bail out workers and families at a time of great uncertainty, to seize this moment by permanently increasing capacity in our hospitals and tackling the housing crisis once and for all, and to rebuild an economy that is stronger, fairer and better.
Bhí an deis againn inniu rud neart difriúil a dhéanamh. Bhí an deis againn lámh chuidithe a thabhairt d'oibrithe ag am na neamhchinnteachta agus geilleagar na tíre seo a atógáil ar bhealach a bheadh níos láidre, níos córa agus níos fearr.
The risk is not that we do too much, it is that we do too little, and we can see that in the Government's plan. Indeed, close to €6 billion is unallocated in the Government's plan because it does not know what to do. Today, the Government should have tackled core areas, such as unaffordable childcare costs, underfunded disability services, a dysfunctional housing market and a healthcare system that is crying out for significant investment. Failures in these areas by successive Governments have undermined our resilience and have limited our ability to combat the virus and weather the storm.
Nowhere is this more true than in our health service. Our hospitals and healthcare staff are under immense pressure. A decade of underfunding, mismanagement and neglect under Fine Gael has left them in a vulnerable position. The Government cannot say it was not warned. As far back as 2009, the recommendations were clear. We had 289 critical care beds and we were told we needed 579 by this year. How many do we have today? We have 280. Instead of increasing the number of beds over a decade of Fine Gael Government, we have entered 2020 with fewer critical care beds than we had a decade ago.