Sinn Féin economics: Let the €500m water meters gather rust
Published 05/10/2016 | 02:30
Pearse Doherty, arguably the most impressive debater in the 32nd Dáil, yesterday put to bed any notion that Sinn Féin is a responsible party ready to make the leap into government.
Flanked by party colleagues Mary Lou McDonald and David Cullinane, Mr Doherty made light of the prospect of €500m worth of water meters resting in the ground, gathering rust.
"We are not proposing to dig them up and put them on display," Mr Doherty quipped, adding that they would serve as a "reminder" of the policies of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.
"They will join the voting machines and other disastrous policies," Mr Doherty added.
It is ironic Mr Doherty chose to make light of an issue like water charges - which have been paid by tens of thousands of hard-pressed families - during the launch of the party's pre-Budget submission.
The submission is entitled 'A Better Ireland', one which, according to Sinn Féin's vision, involves tonnes of machinery gathering rust in towns and villages across the country.
At least Fianna Fáil, despite all its faults, had the foresight to get rid of e-voting machines, arguably the trademark of its own string of disastrous policies.
Mr Doherty seems to think that responsible politics entails leaving meters lying idle in our estates - simply to embarrass other parties.
That's some demonstration of leadership from the party that, we are told, is ready to bring this country in a new direction.
It will certainly provide little comfort for families ahead of a Budget that we now know will make minimal difference to their lives.
Sinn Féin's own Budget proposals were summed up neatly by Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary.
"It's a 'Late Late Show' performance: They want to give something to everyone in the audience," he said.
Sinn Féin says its proposals would raise €1bn in net taxes to fund spending increases in areas such as maternity benefit, childcare and social housing.
But once again, the party's proposals are the same as they were last year, and the year before that.
Scrap property tax, hit high earners with an additional 7pc tax on everything they earn above €100,000, and introduce what many will see as a raid on working people's pensions.
Then again, this is the party that served as cheerleaders for Syriza.