Thursday 19 October 2017

Some Labour TDs at risk of quitting over cuts

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

LABOUR Party backbencher Michael McNamara is the latest coalition TD at risk of quitting.

The Labour hierarchy is worried about losing more TDs over the Budget.

Mr McNamara (pictured) is understood to be waiting for clarity on the contents of the Budget.

The Clare TD had been arguing strongly for a hike in the Universal Social Charge on those earning over €100,000 and was very disappointed with the cabinet decision to reject this in favour of a mansions tax. But Labour Party chief whip Emmet Stagg said he had no worries about any of the party TDs not voting for the Budget.

"I'd be very confident all of our Labour TDs will vote with the Government," he said.

Labour has lost two backbenchers, Patrick Nulty and Tommy Broughan, and two junior ministers – Willie Penrose and Roisin Shortall – since entering government last year.

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin was brought in yesterday for a private meeting with Labour TDs to reassure them about the Budget.

There were complaints by backbenchers about the expected €10 cut in child benefit – which Labour promised to prevent in general election advertisements last year.

One Labour TD said yesterday that it was hard to imagine "anyone walking".

Labour Senator John Gilroy called for "real patriotism" as he warned that party backbenchers should not be thinking about their own political careers."If anyone goes overboard here, they haven't got the good of the country at heart," he said.

Labour backbenchers are bracing themselves for criticism from the opposition about the cutbacks in the Budget.

But Labour Kerry North TD Arthur Spring revealed a parliamentary reply from Finance Minister Michael Noonan, which confirmed that neither Fianna Fail or Sinn Fein had submitted their budget alternatives to his department to be costed. "It shows the inability of the opposition to put together a coherent Budget proposal that holds up to scrutiny," Mr Spring said.

Irish Independent

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