28/04/15 Senator Daly Speaks about Prescription Charges, Education and the Moore Street Area Renewal and Development Bill 2015

Senator Daly: Today’s spring statement is definitely politically strong but economically weak. As we saw in the last budget, which was much trumpeted by the other side of the House, what we see is a continuation of the Government’s policy whereby those on €70,000 were four times better off as a result of the last budget than those on the minimum wage. Is this what we can be promised in the next budget? It will be touted that it is an improvement for some but it will not be an improvement for all. The ESRI, which is the Government’s own body, has said that it is not an improvement for those on the minimum wage.

I think have found the pen used by Deputy Ruairí Quinn to sign the pledge that he would not increase the registration fees. I do not know what happened to the prescription charge but I do not see that in the spring statement. I do not see any promise to pay back the €2.2 billion robbed from private pensions. Perhaps there might be something about that in the autumn statement but there is certainly nothing about it in the spring statement. What we must be clear about is that this Government is borrowing money to buy votes. It is as simple as that. We still have interest payments of €7 billion per year and the money is being borrowed. That is about the size of it. Will the Leader organise a debate on this?

The Government talks about more teachers. Last autumn, when the Government spoke in the budget about 1,700 extra teachers, it failed to mention that this was just to keep in line with growing pupil-teacher ratios. That is what it was about.

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Senator Daly: Could the Leader arrange a debate on that?

I second the amendment to the Order of Business relating to the Moore Street Area Renewal and Development Bill 2015, which is a very good one produced by Fianna Fáil councillors in Dublin City Council in conjunction with Senator Darragh O’Brien, who has led the charge on this issue. I know the Senator’s relatives were involved in the 1916 Rising. It is very important that Moore Street and that entire historical quarter is revived, revamped and revitalised in the same way Temple Bar was.Senator Darragh O’Brien’s proposal will do it, and I hope the Leader will accept the amendment.

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