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Budget Statement 2021

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Deputy Danny Healy-Rae

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Snippet Contents:

I am glad to get the opportunity to talk on this very important budget. While I welcome the €4 billion pledged to the health services, one wonders how and where it will be spent and, most important, whether we will get the beds they say we will get. I have only to start with Killarney. Instead of getting more beds in our Killarney Community Hospital or in St. Columbanus Community Hospital, we are told the bed numbers will be cut. We will see very shortly who is right and who is wrong. I hope that we do not get the reductions we have been promised.
The carbon tax is a savage attack on working people. Most people who go to work in the morning drive to and from work. There is more tax on their cars and litres of diesel and petrol cost more as does motor tax. It applies right across the board to the hauliers who move everything. When the cost goes up for them, which it will have to because there is a 2.5 cent rise per litre promised along with other taxes, then hauliers will have to transfer the costs to the people whose goods they move. This is in order to survive. This is the honest truth about it. It is very unfair to hit the same people all the time. Most people on the road are already paying 50% income tax. What is the Government trying to do? Is it trying to tax the working people out of it altogether? These people employ and pay people to work for them. No one could do more harm to the motor industry than the Minister, Deputy Eamon Ryan. He is a fine man but his policies are totally and absolutely ridiculous. Back in 2006 or 2007 he wanted people to buy diesel cars. Then a few years ago he told us to get hybrid SUVs. Now we are being told that any relief that was to be had from having a hybrid SUV will be removed. That is wrong. Consider a family with three children. To comply with safety regulations and to be able to face the gardaí on the road when being checked, one must have special seats for the three children, which will not fit into a normal saloon car. Families may need seven-seater cars in order that they can go out on a Sunday evening or to school safely and will not be stopped by gardaí and brought to account. I am not blaming the gardaí, but what is going on the motorways is absolutely ridiculous. They were blocking traffic when people were trying to go home from work. The Minister for Justice and the Government were responsible, not the Garda. It was absolutely ridiculous to stop people, hold them up and keep them waiting for up to an hour and a half on the motorway when they had families and children to attend to. It was very wrong.
I welcome money promised to Irish Water. I must say here that I have a small company that at times does work for Irish Water. The sum of €44 million, however, is only a drip in the ocean and is not enough. Places such as Kilcummin, Kenmare, Rossbeigh, Scartaglin, Currow and Caherdaniel are without a treatment plant. The Castleisland water treatment plant has been waiting for 36 years for an extension to the sewerage scheme. Then we have people in here talking about the environment and worried about the environment. They do not want to talk about the sewerage systems at all. They tell us that we cannot build out into the country and that we must build in towns and villages, and yet there is no treatment plant in many of the villages and towns they talk about. Massive work is needed and money needs to be spent on it but Irish Water does not have the funds to do that.
There was no mention of old age pensions. Pensioners got nothing after being locked down all the year and having to pay people to bring their messages to them. They are still locked down. They are still being advised to stay at home. What about the women's pensions? A number of years ago they were promised the rightful amount due to them. There has been no mention of the community employment supervisors and what is rightfully owed to them, or any mention of giving anything back to them.
Deputy Naughten referred to broadband of which there was no mention. Many parts of our counties are seriously disadvantaged by the lack of broadband.