Revenue Surplus Should Be Used To Deliver First Class Public Services
Labour Finance Spokesperson, Joan Burton TD, has welcomed the Exchequer surplus but has said this Government is squandering the hard-won recovery by failing to invest in essential public services.
Deputy Burton said:
“The Exchequer surplus of nearly €100 million is good news, but it stands in stark contrast to the ongoing crisis in housing and health. This Government is at risk of squandering the recovery by its failure to invest in housing and health. This Government should not forget that this economic recovery is as a result of hard sacrifices made the public, and public sector workers, during the recession.
“Leprechaun economics continues to haunt Ireland as Minister Donohoe sits on his ‘Rainy Day Fund’ while there is clearly need to invest now, in the public sector. This Government’s continued failure to address social housing needs id difficult to understand.
“2018 confirms that the figures have been very good and show the continued improvement in the economy, however, the quandary is notwithstanding some effort from the Government they have been unable to seriously influence the construction of new social and affordable homes.
“These returns also stand in contrast with the unprecedented crisis facing the health service as the cost of servicing our national debt has plummeted. Minister Harris seems well able to have his line of credit extended for the massive overspend on the new Children’s Hospital, yet cannot seem to negotiate the funds to adequately pay the nurses who staff our health service.
“The fundamental issue for this Government now is their failure to invest. The State has to take the lead in solving problems for citizens instead of simply promising tax cuts when what people need is decent services.
“We also need to see solid commitments from the Government on the spending increases in public transport, and low emission transport alternatives, which will be needed to address our laggard reputation on Climate Change. Not only do we need to do this for the sake of the environment but also to avoid severe fines if we do not meet our International Climate Change commitments.
“This Government now finds itself in a position where it is promising the sky and all, but when it comes to essentials it is not delivering for people on the ground.”