Belfast Telegraph

Opposition slam cost-cutting plans

The draconian six billion euro budget comes from a puppet Government under the thumb of the International Monetary Fund and Europe, opposition parties have claimed.

They rounded on ministers over the massive cost-cutting package, with Fine Gael claiming it is a fitting tribute to a failed administration.

The Labour Party branded it the last sting of a dying wasp, while Sinn Fein went a step further by claiming it amounted to economic treason.

Fine Gael finance spokesman Michael Noonan said the programme was unveiled to draw down the 85 billion euro international bail-out, and he called for a new Ireland with a reformed political system.

"The Government's policies have wrecked the economy, they have destroyed the confidence of the people, they have put 450,000 people out of work, they have forced over 100,000 of our adult children to emigrate, they have increased poverty and they have undermined any concept of social justice in our society," Mr Noonan said.

Labour Party Finance spokeswoman Joan Burton said the budget represents the last sting of a dying wasp.

"But it's a pretty vicious sting and one that carries a long tail life, not just for today, but for the next four years," she said. "The people who will feel the biggest sting will be people with children."

Sinn Fein's newly elected finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said the Budget was a full frontal attack on the lowest income earners and the unemployed.

"It is times like this when you have to think, what would the founders of this state think about what has gone on earlier today in this chamber. What would people who struggled into being, the people who gave their lives, the people who laboured to bring the Dail into being, to bring the dream of the (1916) proclamation into being... I'm sure that they would be ashamed by what has gone on in this chamber today."

There was also opposition from unions, with Siptu general president Jack O'Connor saying the Budget will be a relief for Ireland's wealthy elite at the expense of the less well off, and Unite's Jimmy Kelly condemning the Budget as a savage and undemocratic attack on people who the Government think will not fight back.

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