Fianna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson on Social Protection Paschal Mooney has expressed the party’s concern at the guillotining of the Social Welfare Bill over the last two days.

Senator Mooney was speaking after the Bill was passed by only two votes today in the Seanad.

“The 2013 Budget represented an attack on families and those with disabilities. The callous cuts to Child Benefit and the Respite Care Grant show just how out of touch this Government has become. The cuts target the most vulnerable in society who deserve to be protected.

“The Taoiseach’s own nominees to the Seanad voted against the Bill, such was its unfairness. In fact, the Fine Gael and Labour Senators, some of whom had spent the previous week telling the country how unfair it was, were the only ones to support the Bill. The one exception was Senator James Heffernan who has now been ostracised by his party for taking a principled stand.

“The Ministers who came before the Seanad over the last two days employed every technique in the book to curtail detailed debate on the Bill. Discussion was limited and we were prevented from voting on aspects of the Bill because of these delaying tactics. The Government’s promises on political reform have now been completely discredited.

“Thousands of families throughout the country will have these unfair cuts imposed on them without proper debate in either Dáil or Seanad – a very negative reflection on two Government parties that campaigned on the basis of changing politics.  This is not the sort of change that people expected.”