Belfast Telegraph

Fine Gael accuses opposition parties of ‘reckless’ spending demands

Fine Gael TDs accused Fianna Fail and other parties of setting out spending commitments for projects they cannot fund.

Euro notes and coins (Niall Carson/PA)
Euro notes and coins (Niall Carson/PA)

By Cate McCurry, PA

Fine Gael has accused Fianna Fail of making reckless spending demands that amount to a “one for everyone in the audience” approach.

A number of Fine Gael TDs accused the rival party of setting out spending commitments for projects that they cannot fund.

Speaking at Leinster House ahead of Tuesday’s budget, the TDs also called for increases in the carbon tax to be “ring-fenced” for environmental projects.

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy said that measures should be put in place that would protect people most affected, including an increase to the fuel allowance.

She added: “There is a massive retrofitting programme required across the country, and I don’t see my county in Offaly and the Midlands shouldn’t be a fantastic pilot for that, it seems we are going to be disproportionately affected.”

Some of the TDs criticised other opposition parties and accused them of making demands that “don’t stack up”.

Martin Heydon accused the Green Party and Sinn Fein of putting forward budgets that ignore a hard Brexit.

He added: “What we’ve seen from the Green Party, what we’ve seen from Sinn Fein, is completely there for ignoring that.

“Preparing budgets that absolutely make no real reference to the Brexit situation we’re facing into as a country that have billions and billions in new taxes that would actually bring us back to the type of reckless spending that we had in the past, particularly when Eamon Ryan was in government.

“The Green figures and the Sinn Fein figures, and the Labour figures don’t stack up because they don’t take account of what we’re facing in terms of a hard Brexit and it’s time they were honest about that.”

Peter Burke called for Fianna Fail to set out their priorities and “not to embark on a one for everyone in the audience approach”.

Mr Heydon said that some opposition parties make unfunded spending commitments to the public.

He added: “We have recognised and said the things that we would have liked to have seen as a party if there wasn’t a need for a budget that’s dealing with a hard Brexit, that we would actually have a different type of budget but what the opposition parties consistently do is they ignore the reality of a hard Brexit and they prepare budget statements which are Alice In Wonderland.”

Dublin Bay South TD Kate O’Connell called for more measures to help young families.

She added: “We are extending parental leave for two weeks to parents of young children, that’s going to benefit about 60,000 people in a real and tangible way and we hope to build that to seven weeks over the next three years.

“Despite Brexit and despite the most challenging times in the past, it was Fine Gael that laid down the foundations for an affordable childcare scheme, and even in with Brexit on the horizon, we’re still investing in families and helping families when life is very unaffordable at times when you have young children.”

Fianna Fail was also accused of being “pretty sensitive flowers” following its criticism of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar after he compared them to “predators”.

Mr Heydon said Mr Varadkar’s comments were made in reference to the Fianna Fail-Green Party government 10 years ago.

PA

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