independent

Sunday 21 September 2014

TD Ryan lashes FG over Budget

DEPUTY'S VOTE 'UNDECIDED'

JOHN MANNING

Published 11/12/2012 | 12:40

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A LOCAL Labour Party TD has told the Fingal Independent he has not made up his mind on how he will vote on the Social Welfare Bill this week, and has admitted that tensions between the two governing parties are higher than ever in the wake of a very tough Budget.

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Labour's Brendan Ryan, pictured right, said that 'a clear difference in priorities' is emerging between Labour and Fine Gael as the fallout from a controversial Budget continues this week. The Labour TD said he and many party colleagues had been 'particularly frustrated' that Labour's attempt to hit the wealthy with an increased Universal Social Charge for those earning over €100,000 was 'rebuffed' by FG. A LOCAL Labour Party TD has told the Fingal Independent he has not made up his mind on how he will vote on the Social Welfare Bill this week and has admitted that tensions between the two governing parties are higher than ever in the wake of a very tough Budget. Deputy Brendan Ryan said that the a ' clear difference in priorities' is emerging between Labour and Fine Gael as the fallout from a controversial Budget continues this week. The Labour TD said he and many of his party colleagues had been 'particularly frustrated' that Labour's attempt to hit the wealthy with an increased Universal Social Charge for those earning in excess of €100,000 was 'rebuffed' by Fine Gael. He said the majority party in the coalition had threatened cuts in basic social welfare rates if Labour insisted on the USC increase for high earners. 'It was a tough budget and it was always going to be a tough budget and there are some very harsh and difficult stuff in there,' Deputy Ryan said. He said he was concerned about the cumulative effect of individual small measures in the Budget on families and said that 'middle income families will be hurt the most' as a result of what he sees as Fine Gael's unwillingness to spread the burden to the wealthy. He welcomed the fact that basic rates of social welfare had escaped cuts and said it was worth clarifying that it was the Respite Care Grant – a once-off annual payment to provide respite breaks for carers – which had been cut and not Carers' Allowance. With that said, he said the measure was such a small amount of money, it should have been found elsewhere in the Budget. Deputy Ryan said it had been the most difficult week the Government had experienced in terms of the relations between the two parties. 'While we use our parliamentary meetings to discuss respite care and community employment schemes, we read that some Fine Gael deputies are more worried about cuts in the funding for private schools – there is a clear difference in priorities there.' He said he had not made up his mind on whether to vote for or against the Social Welfare Bill this week but said if he supported the Bill, it would be on the basis that 'I'm better off trying to change things on the inside than from the outside'. He said he was concerned that voting against the Bill might be 'an empty gesture' and 'not in the best interests of the country'. But he said he would continue to take soundings on the issue before making up his mind. The Labour TD also revealed that he and other Labour TDs are seeking assurances from certain ministers that their priorities will be addressed in future budgets in return for their support for this one.

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