Seán Crowe TD blasted the government’s latest budget which again favours the wealthy at the expense of the vulnerable.

Speaking in the Dáil today on the Social Welfare Bill, Deputy Crowe said:

“The Social Welfare cuts that this Government have imposed while they have been in office have had a devastating impact on citizens and families right across this State.

“It’s welcome that we see some small increase to social welfare payments in this Budget, but such tiny amounts of money transfers won’t tackle the root problem of inequality and disadvantage in this State.

“A recent Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) economic survey has shown that Ireland has the highest level of income inequality among OECD members. Every Budget that this Government have brought in has been regressive and disproportionately impacted on the poorest in society.

“If the recovery that the government speak of is to be meaningful then it needs to address the issues of inequality and the prevalence of in-work poverty which is the result of low-paid employment.

“We are coming into what is likely to be a very cold winter and the amount of people now living in fuel poverty in Ireland is a disgrace. People are going to be faced with choosing between putting food on the table and heating their homes.

“There is the real possibility that our elderly citizens living on pensions will be unavailable to heat their homes and could die of the cold. The meagre couple of Euro that the Government is trying to buy the off with in this Bill won’t make a difference.

“We are in supposedly in the middle of a recovery. A recovery that the Government says means more money in people’s pockets. In reality it means more people than ever on trolleys. More people than ever homeless. And more people than ever in debt.”