independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Budget attack hypocritical - Kenny

Farmers picket the Department of Agriculture in Dublin as left-wing TDs and campaign groups call for protests against child benefit and other cuts

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has shot down a three-pronged attack on the Government over savage cuts in the Budget as opportunistic and hypocritical.

Mr Kenny launched the offensive after a slew of assaults from the Opposition accused Labour of neglecting its policies and grassroots to prop up Fine Gael.

"Your attack on Labour is utterly hypocritical and opportunistic," he said.

The Taoiseach said Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin had bowed to pressure from opposition benches to pick a fight with Labour over controversial Budget cuts.

"This Budget is not about the Fine Gael party and is not about the Labour Party. It's about Ireland and its people," the Taoiseach said.

"It's about this Government having the conviction and the courage to clean up the most inordinate mess left behind by the most incompetent, out of touch and arrogant government in the last 50 years in the country."

Mr Martin has claimed he was personally approached by Labour TDs dissatisfied about the 3.5 billion euro austerity budget - particularly the controversial slashing of the respite care grant from 1,700 to 1,375 euro a year.

"I believe they are saying around the House, even last week before they went home for the weekend, that this was a disaster for them," Mr Martin said.

As the United Left Alliance called for a mass demonstration and Sinn Fein unveiled plans to table a motion of no confidence in the Government, Mr Martin announced his party would force Dail votes on all cuts it deemed unfair. That would force TDs to literally walk across the Dail chamber to cast their vote.

Mr Martin said it would be a real test for those grappling with their conscience.

Press Association

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