Tanaiste forced to defend welfare cuts as opposition attack Labour ‘deception’ and 'lies'
TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore insists the Government has protected those on low and middle incomes in the Budget as he again defended the social welfare cuts.
Ahead of the Dail votes later today on a series of sensitive social welfare cuts, Mr Gilmore said it was a "tough Budget and a difficult Budget".
"The choice we made was protect those on low and middle incomes. In the Budget, we have protected the basic rate of social welfare. We have introduced the biggest package of taxes on wealth," he said.
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said coalition TDs were going to vote for "regressive cuts" to social welfare benefits.
He pointed to Labour's pre-election promises to protect families and child benefit.
"That is the solemn promise you made to the Irish people," he said.
"You knowingly deceived the people of this country. Labour's way was the ultimate deception," he added.
Mr Gilmore said Mr Martin was "suffering from withdrawal". "You squandered the boom and you put the country into hock," he said.
The Tanaiste said the Government's legacy would be "to get rid of the IMF".
"This Government will be sending the Troika home," he said.
Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary-Lou McDonald said Mr Gilmore had a "brass neck of the brassy variety".
"You have made a liar of your party TDs and party Senators," she said.
When Ms McDonald was told the word lie is not allowed in the Dail, she replied: "A lie is a lie and a liar is a liar."
She withdrew the phrase and replaced it with "untruth or porky pie".