Plans for a spring statement on the economy by the government have far more do with the deteriorating electoral fortunes of Fine Gael and Labour than any genuine attempt to have meaningful debate on the economy, according to the Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance.
Deputy McGrath stated, “The government parties are clearly frustrated that October’s budget has been completely overshadowed by the farce they have created in Irish Water. The suggestion that the government suddenly think it is a good idea to have a spring statement on the economy in the run-in to a general election will be treated with the cynicism it deserves. The timing of a new statement is all about raw electoral politics and will be seen for what it is.
“Instead, the government should be having a debate now on last week’s ESRI report which nailed the lie that low and middle income families would be so much better off after Budget 2015. The government should be having a debate on the ESRI’s finding that the top 10% of income earners gained the most from the budget and the bottom 10% fared the worst. All the slick PR and spin next spring will not change the basic fact that this government has consistently prioritised the interests of the better off in society.
“Every April, the government submits a Stability Programme Update to the European Commission. This has been done with no Dáil debate. In fact, all the Minister for Finance does is attend a box ticking meeting of the Oireachtas Finance Committee on the very day the submission is due to tell the members of the committee what is in the submission. This approach is typical of the dismissive and condescending attitude of the government to parliamentary oversight and democratic reform.
“The off the record comments from government sources about this ‘spring statement’ on the economy have given the game away. It is all about politics and the electoral fortunes of the government parties and nobody will be fooled by it.”