Saturday 22 October 2016

Mary Lou McDonald accuses Government of presiding over 'tax bonanzas for the rich'

Niall O’Connor, Political Correspondent

Published 28/01/2016 | 13:09

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: Tom Burke
Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: Tom Burke

THE Government has been accused of presiding over “tax bonanzas for the rich” and failing to “stand up to Frankfurt” during the course of its term in office.

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In what was potentially the final session of ‘Leaders’ Questions' before the General Election, Sinn Féin launched a stinging attack on the Coalition’s record in office.

The party’s deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said the Coalition has been “throwing around election promises like confetti at a wake” in a remark that prompted much heckling from the Government benches.

Ms McDonald said the Government has introduced five “deeply unfair budgets” that have hit working families the hardest.

“The news is people have actually woken up to you and they wised up to the fact that far from protecting working families, low and middle income workers, you are quite happy to let fine gael to run the agenda,” Ms McDonald said.

She said the Labour Party has allowed Taoiseach Enda Kenny to “set to the agenda”, adding that the economy recovery has not reached the “vast majority of communities”. Ms McDonald also accused the Coalition of failing to “stand up to Frankfurt” and of introducing “tax bonanzas” for the rich.

In response to the criticism, Ms Burton accused Sinn Fein of living in an “economic bubble”.

She said the party is proposing to raise taxes on ordinary families. The Labour leader also raised Sinn Féin’s support for the controversial bank guarantee.

Earlier, Fianna Fail criticised the Government’s response to the recent flood crisis. The party’s finance spokesperson Michael McGrath said it was clear from media reports that the insurance industry was “failing to step up to the mark” in terms of providing cover to families in areas where flood defences are already in place.

“We are hearing a lot of motherhood and apple pie and not a lot of action,” Mr McGrath said, adding that there should be legislation introduced to force insurance firms to act.

Ms Burton said she is also concerned about the insurance industry’s response and that engagement with the Government is ongoing.

But she said over €500,000 has been dispensed to businesses through the Red Cross and that the Department of Social Protection has provided assistance to over 400 families.

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