Saturday 24 March 2018

Brexit measures in Budget slammed as 'absolutely pathetic' by Fianna Fail

Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath
Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

FIANNA Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath has described government plans in the Budget to meet the challenge of Brexit as "absolutely pathetic".

He said that spending of around €4m on a number of Brexit-related measures amounted to "bits and bobs" and said other countries are more prepared.

Mr McGrath highlighted €3m in increased funding for agencies like Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland as well as €1m being spent on Brexit measures in the Department of the Taoiseach.

"You have provided €3m extra on the Jobs and Enterprise department... It's pathetic, absolutely pathetic," he said.

Mr McGrath added: "If you compare that to what is being done throughout Europe by all of the other main countries who have a lot less at stake in the Brexit process compared to what we have, my God they're investing a lot more and they're a lot more prepared for what is coming down the track.

"That package is pathetic and it's going to have to be addressed and changed very very quickly," Mr McGrath said.

Meanwhile, he insisted his party has had an impact on the Budget.

Fianna Fáil has a deal with Fine Gael to facilitate three Budgets.

Mr McGrath has told the Dáil: "We didn’t get everything we wanted in this Budget, but we have secured some vital progress on a number of priorities set out in that agreement – including in health, social protection, education, housing and fair reductions in the universal social charge."

He argued that the Budget is "better" and "fairer" due to Fianna Fáil's influence.

One measure sought by Fianna Fáil is the €5-a-week increase in the State pension, which is being delivered albeit from March, not January.

He said that Fianna Fáil's input in the Budget negotiations will be used by other opposition groups to attack his party.

"These attacks will be as predictable as night follows day. What is true is that we have not shirked our responsibility to the people who elected us, unlike others," Mr McGrath said.

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