Wednesday 18 September 2019

FG attacks FF over spending demands

REPORT: Peter Burke TD
REPORT: Peter Burke TD
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Fine Gael is ramping up tensions with Fianna Fail ahead of budget negotiations by accusing the party of making spending demands which would cost taxpayers €24m a day.

A new document compiled by Fine Gael TD Peter Burke estimates that Fianna Fail called for €4.35bn in additional spending in the first six months of this year.

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The Fine Gael report is titled Fianna Fail - Spending For All which is a play on the party's 2016 General Election slogan "An Ireland for All".

The document breaks down demands by Fianna Fail spokespeople across Government departments and estimates the cost of each policy. It includes abolishing prescription charges (€94m), undoing austerity cuts for GPs (€120m), building 50,000 affordable homes in six years (€340m), increasing third level eduction funding by €200m and increasing all welfare payments by €5 per week (€268m)

The 16-page report also includes a list of Fianna Fail policy demands which Fine Gael could not cost.

In a statement, Mr Burke said the spending demands were reckless and showed a "leopard can't change its spots". "Fianna Fail are trying to present themselves as having learnt from the immense heartache and hardship they caused nationwide when they put the party before the Irish people and economy," he said.

The Longford-Westmeath TD said Fianna Fail's demands on the taxpayer were "unrealistic and unfair" and would force the Government to increase taxes or borrow more money.

Fianna Fail finance spokesman Michael McGrath dismissed the document as "petty, juvenile politics" at a time when his party was putting the country first.

"I imagine it is designed to deflect attention away from the fact that Fine Gael is now openly talking about putting infrastructure somewhere in the vicinity of the Border after the Taoiseach and Tanaiste repeatedly promised the Irish people North and south that this was not going to happen under any Brexit circumstances," he said.

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