Laois/Offaly Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen has said he is extremely concerned about the impact of the government’s budget choices on families across the country, noting a significant rise in representations from constituents who feel very disillusioned and under extreme financial pressure.
Deputy Cowen said, “The decisions that the government has made in recent weeks and months are having a significant impact on people’s daily lives and communities. I have noticed a marked increase in the type of representations from constituents relating to the changes to terms and conditions for graduate nurses and teachers, 3rd level students still waiting for their grants to be approved and alarming levels of those now long-term unemployed.
“The jobs crisis and the financial pressures people are experiencing due to mortgage and personal debt remain the biggest burdens that have to be addressed proactively this year. We need to see real progress, particularly on getting people back to work and easing the mortgage burden.
“While Ministers still seem preoccupied with patting themselves on the back with headline grabbing announcements the delivery of real change for people is not being prioritised. Instead we’re seeing the Justice Minister Alan Shatter undermine the security of communities with reports that Garda numbers will be reduced by 1,400 this year – the lowest level in more than a decade, and a drip-feed of information from government on the property tax causing more anxiety for homeowners.
“The government’s decision to focus singularly on pleasing EU partners while putting the well-being of our own society in second place at every hands turn is deeply flawed. The government needs to change its entire focus in order to make decisions that are going to help and not communities. Almost two years in office and all the government has achieved is to further alienate the public by not delivering real reform in key areas such as health, employment and social protection.”