Sinn Féin Alternative Budget 2020 gives families and workers a break

Sinn Féin has this week published its Alternative Budget 2020, with Louth TD Imelda Munster saying ‘it’s time to end the rip-off and give local families and workers a break’.

The party’s alternative budget proposals include a provision for two free GP visits for every person without a medical card, a rent freeze and a relief worth one month’s rent, free travel on public transport for five to eighteen-year-olds and a reduction in the cost of childcare by an average of €100 a month per child.

Deputy Munster said: ‘The upcoming budget needs to do two things: end the rip off and give workers and families a break and secure Ireland’s future if there is a crash out Brexit.  

‘There is something seriously wrong when the vast majority of people have less money in their pockets now than they did when Fine Gael, supported by Fianna Fáil, came into power three years ago.  

‘The reasons for this are obvious – Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are making bad, short term decisions that are costing the taxpayer billions and they are failing to intervene to deal with out of control costs in childcare, rents and essential household bills like insurance and mortgage interest payments.

‘The consequence is that insurance companies, banks and landlords are making billions while workers and families are being ripped off’.

The Drogheda TD says her party’s Alternative Budget offers ‘clear, realisable solutions to the impossible living costs faced by countless families – sky-high insurance premiums, extortionate rents, and eye-watering childcare costs. Together, these ensure that Ireland’s cost of living is among the most unaffordable in the developed world.

 

‘The budget cannot be just about survival, it must be about ensuring people can have a decent life and enjoy their time with family and friends’.

The Alternative Budget from Sinn Féin includes

  • Helping renters by introducing an emergency freeze on rents and bringing in rent relief which would save them the equivalent of one month’s rent each year.
  • Help families by reducing the cost of childcare by an average of €100 a month per child.
  • Provide two free GP visits for every person without a medical card – so nobody delays going to the doctor because they are worried about the cost.
  • Ensure there is No carbon tax increase in Budget 2020.
  • End the insurance rip-off – first we’re going after the government take and then we are coming after the industry.
  • Invest an additional €300 million to give people with disabilities and their families a break.
  • Introduce free travel for 5 to 18-year-olds on public transport.

Housing list in Louth soars as council land banks lie empty – Imelda Munster

Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath, Imelda Munster, has hit out at the latest homelessness figures, saying that “the figures released for the month of August show how the government has failed to get to grips with the causes of homelessness.”

The comment comes as the Department of Housing released the official homeless figures for August which show 10,338 people living in emergency accommodation, 170 of whom are in Louth and 111 in Meath.

Deputy Munster said:

“The figures published this morning by the Department of Housing show an unacceptable number of people who are homeless in Louth and Meath.

“The figures show that child and family homelessness is on the increase across the state. For the seventh month in a row the number of people officially classified as homeless across this state has remained above 10,000 with a total of 10,338.

“There are over 50 acres of council owned land banks in Louth which are still lying barren of any social and affordable housing, all because the government has refused to roll out the funding to build hundreds of homes on this land to help ease the crisis.

“The government has already collated the data around land banks across the state and they know exactly where they are.

“The housing waiting list in Louth is head towards the 5,000 mark – the highest it has ever been. Yet these land banks lie idle.

“It’s high time, if the government is serious about even making a dent in the housing waiting list that they fund the roll out of an affordable and social housing building programme on these council-owned land banks.

“Sinn Féin has called for an increase in investment in social and affordable homes built on public land and faster delivery time for these homes.”

“We are calling on both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to drop their opposition to the Focus Ireland amendment as this is the best way to keep families from becoming homeless as it restricts the landlord’s ability to seek vacant possession notices to quit.

”I have been pleading with the government to change their policy and prioritise social and affordable housing to give these people and families a chance at a stable, normal life.”

Adams raises Sruthán House in Dáil

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams today raised the future of Sruthán House in the Dáil with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar today.

The Louth TD said:

“In February, the Minister of State with responsibility for disability issues, Deputy Finian McGrath, stated that the Government was committed to providing a range of accessible respite care supports for people with a disability and their families. 

He also stated that respite care was crucial in helping to reduce family stress, preserve the family unit and provide stability.

In direct contradiction of those words, the HSE unilaterally decided to close Sruthán House, a respite facility in Dundalk.

I have met the users of this facility. They and their families feel very strongly about this closure and I support them.

Will the Taoiseach ask the Minister of State, Deputy McGrath, to ensure that Sruthán House is protected and that the excellent service it provides will continue?”

In his response the Taoiseach said:

“An extra €10 million was provided in the budget for this year to provide additional respite care which is so important for families and carers. It allowed an additional respite house to be opened in each community healthcare region. I do not know the circumstances of the particular closure to which the Deputy referred, but I will ask the Minister of State, Deputy McGrath, to engage with him on it”.

‘Mo Shaol’ a welcome addition to Respite in Louth – Ó Murchú

Sinn Féin general election candidate Cllr Ruairí Ó Murchú has attended a presentation on the HSE’s ‘Mo Shaol’ initiative.

Following the presentation, which took place during the Louth Disability Forum September meeting, Councillor Ó Murchú said;

“Mo Shaol offers a placement service for adults and children with intellectual disabilities, acquired brain injuries or autistic spectrum disorders.

“The staff at Mo Shaol, which operates across Louth and Meath, match individuals with host families based on shared interests and compatibility.

“The project is extremely flexible and can range from social outings lasting a few hours to overnight stays with a host family.

“Mo Shaol was mainstreamed by the HSE in 2018 so it is relatively new and small scale at present but the potential to develop the project is huge.  

“Currently in Louth Mo Shaol has placed individuals with 11 hosts. There are 6 more placements being recommended for approval in November and 5 potential hosts are awaiting assessment.

“However there are 30 referrals waiting to be placed and there is just 1 social worker assigned to the project.

“This is a welcome addition to the suite of respite services offered by the HSE but it requires a much greater level of resource to deliver the required service.

“I intend to liaise with Deputy Gerry Adams to raise the funding of this service with the Minister for Health.”

Car Insurance Rip Off Must End – Ó Murchú

Sinn Féin Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has said that the motor insurance industry needs to be radically overhauled to address extortionate premiums which people are being charged.
 
Councillor Ó Murchú also called into question the practise within the motor insurance industry of charging more to existing customers who renew their policy than to new customers for the same policy. 
 
Councillor Ó Murchú said;
 
“This practise, known as dual pricing, punishes loyal customers when they renew their insurance.  It is unfair, undermines consumer protection and must end immediately.
 
“I would encourage people to shop around for their car insurance.
 
“When I went to renew my own policy this year, I was quoted a price of €1,600 for one year.  In the previous year with the same company I paid €750.
 
“I switched providers and in the end paid €1,100
 
“Many constituents have raised this issue with me.  One man had secured insurance for him and his wife for €780.  He then tried to insure himself on a second vehicle and was quoted €1,400.
 
“He too shopped around and eventually secured insurance on the second vehicle for just under €1,000 
 
“There may be better value to be found by accessing insurance online and I encourage people to check out if this could work out cheaper for them.
 
“In Louth the level of public transport provision is minimal so there is no option but to drive.  It is expensive enough to run a car without being totally ripped off by insurers who only want to make a fast profit.”