“In a last-minute desperate attempt to claw back their dwindling support, Fine Gael and Labour are colluding to mislead voters before the European and local elections”, Fianna Fáil’s MEP candidate for Midlands North West, Thomas Byrne, has said.

“Their strategy is to make false promises that will not be delivered on and to hold back announcements of cutbacks that will mysteriously happen within a few days of polling.

Senator Byrne cited some recent examples of what the Coalition have been trying to do:

– Taxes and spending

“Despite official Government plans to introduce Budget tax increases and spending cuts totalling €2 billion, Labour and Fine Gael have started to drop hints of tax reductions. The truth is that nobody knows whether or not there will be any scope in October’s Budget to reduce income tax.”

– Water services

“Minister Phil Hogan and Irish Water have trumpeted a €1.8 billion ‘investment programme’ in water services when the truth is that it is nothing more than what was already planned to be spent by the local authorities over the next three years.

– Maternity services

“A HSE confidential report confirms that the agency is strongly considering dramatically downgrading maternity services at three hospitals – Sligo General, Mayo General and Portiuncula in Ballinasloe.

“Since the 2011 general election, we know that Labour’s election promises are hardly word the paper they are written on.  Minister Pat Rabbitte let the cat out of the bag when he admitted ‘Isn’t that what you tend to do during an election?’

“I believe that voters will look beyond this cynical exercise and make up their minds based on real solutions to the issues they have been telling me about in my canvassing.  I have been responding by highlighting the need for the new European Parliament to fast track the agreement promised in June 2012 on Ireland’s unfair burden of bank debt, to create jobs by restoring the €9 billion cut from the EU investment programme in broadband and to put our young people back to work by the restoring the money cut from the European Youth Guarantee.

“I believe in action, not election promises.”