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Budget 2021: Not enough spending on ICUs or housing say Shortall and Boyd Barrett

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Róisín Shortall

Róisín Shortall

Róisín Shortall

The leaders of the Social Democrats and People Before Profit parties have both said the spending on intensive care units is far below what is required in today’s Budget.

Both Róisín Shortall and Richard Boyd Barrett criticised the government for not going far enough in allocating sufficient resources to ICUs in Irish hospitals as part of their €4bn health spend.

“The bulk of that health spend will be Covid related and will go to PPE and testing and tracing,” Deputy Shortall said, adding: “A large part of the remainder of that will be capital spending, which is well needed but, there isn't much spending on ICUs.

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People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett speaking at the launch of the party’s alternative budget (Michelle Devane/PA)

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett speaking at the launch of the party’s alternative budget (Michelle Devane/PA)

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett speaking at the launch of the party’s alternative budget (Michelle Devane/PA)

“There is a shortfall of around 250 critical care beds and this Budget allows for 66 new critical care beds, so again, a lack of ambition there.

“The Government is talking about implementing Sláintecare and they are introducing elements of it, but there is nothing at all about expanding access to healthcare. It shouldn't come down to what you have in your pocket,” the Social Democrats leader said.

Richard Boyd Barrett echoed this sentiment saying: “ICU investment is still nowhere near what the HSE said was needed pre-pandemic. Not enough has gone in there. Not enough has gone into tracking and tracing, either," Deputy Boyd Barrett said.

The People Before Profit leader also said “those already hurting the most would continue to do so” due to the fact that the Pandemic Unemployment Payment was not restored to €350.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said: "There was no reinstatement of eviction ban or mortgage moratorium so those that have already been hurting the most didn't get support they needed.

“These people could be heading into a second set of public health restrictions in a worse financial position than they were in March. This is not acceptable and damaging to the public health effort, as far as I’m concerned.

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Deputy Shortall said the government’s commitment to tackle the price of housing was “a very unambitious one”, adding “The cost of housing is a huge portion of the cost of living and I don’t see much in the Budget to tackle the cost of housing. The commitment to tackling the cost of housing is a very unambitious one, in my view. Just 2,000 houses at affordable rates being promised is an issue.”


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