Fianna Fáil Public Expenditure and Reform spokesperson Sean Fleming TD has dismissed as political window dressing the announcement today of the Government’s much hyped stimulus plan.
Deputy Fleming commented, “An extra €150m is a drop in the ocean compared to the cut that has been taken place to date and are planned for this year.
“The government is proposing that this additional €150m will be spent over the next two years. The government earlier this year announced a cut of €500m in capital expenditure in 2013. Even if they spent all of this €150m this year there will still be an overall reduction of €350m in capital expenditure in the current year.
“In 2012 the Government underspent the capital budget by €145m so even if every cent of the announced money is spent this year it only makes up for last year’s underspend.
“As per usual, the primary focus of this Government is Public Relations. On a quiet news week, the Government is seeking to create an impression of activity and dynamism. People will not be fooled. I am also concerned that the proceeds of the sale of the National Lottery, which was to have been ring-fenced for the National Children’s Hospital, is also going to be raided to fund today’s announcement.
“Two years ago we suggested leveraging private pensions and the National Pension Reserve Fund as a means of supporting infrastructure investment. It seems the Government is now belatedly coming round to this idea. However given their failure to deliver on existing promises there must be considerable doubt over whether today’s announcements will actually produce any tangible benefit.”