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Financial Resolutions 2020

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Budget Statement 2021

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Deputy Carol Nolan

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Snippet Contents:

I welcome the opportunity to speak on the budget today. As we are all well aware, the financial and economic constraints facing this State and our people are monumental. The Covid-19 crisis has resulted in a severe economic change for Ireland. We know from the Parliamentary Budget Office's analysis that the Department of Finance in its own economic forecast underpinning budget 2021 estimates that GDP will fall by 2.5% in 2020 before increasing by 1.4% in 2021. The Department also estimates that the unemployment rate will be 10.7% in 2021 but will increase further if more severe public health restrictions need to be imposed.
I acknowledge that the Ministers for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform appear to have genuinely and sincerely attempted to arrive at set of financial measures that will have the maximum benefit across a range of sectors but I am concerned about broadband and the lack of ambition concerning the roll out of same in rural communities. The midlands in particular has been very adversely affected by what I call the unjust transition. In that context, the roll out of broadband should be prioritised in terms of trying to bring investment into the regions, and into the midland region in particular. The midlands is very much disadvantaged by the lack of proper broadband. I had a Zoom meeting last week with IBEC and midlands companies were saying that they were having problems with telephones and computers which is causing difficulties for staff who are trying to work from home. The lack of decent broadband is a major obstacle that must be overcome if we are serious about investment in the midlands.