Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has described this week’s budget as a “missed opportunity by this Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil government to tackle the big issues, like housing and health, disabilities and respite services, and climate change which are impacting on citizens in all parts of this state at this time.”
Teachta Adams said:
“Louth has an estimated 20,000 citizens with a disability. Respite care for those living with a disability is a priority which this government has failed to address in the past and which it fails to mention in Budget 2019.
The small number of respite beds in Louth cannot meet the high demand for people with disabilities. It is not acceptable that respite services are ignored by the government in its budget. Citizens with disabilities and their carers have rights and the responsibility of the government must be to support those rights and to resource them.
In March of this year this state ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It was a long overdue decision but it has not been matched by government investment to assist those with disabilities.
Budget 2019 fails to meet the needs of citizens with disabilities in health, in education and in housing. Only an additional four million euro has been provided for housing adaption work.
Sinn Féin called for a cross-Departmental and whole of government rights based and social approach to persons with disabilities. What we have got from this government is more of the same and that is not good enough.”
On the issue of housing Gerry Adams said:
“The claim by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil that this is a housing budget does not stand up to scrutiny. Housing and homelessness is in crisis. It required a priority response and significant additional resources by the government. Instead the proposals in the budget fail to tackle the huge social and affordable housing need which clearly exists in Louth and across this state.
When you cut through all of the hype only a miserable €120m additional has been allocated for capital investment in housing.
This means that less than 500 new social homes, in addition to what was already committed, will be provided bring the total for 2019 to less than 8,000 homes. This is far short of what is needed.
In a budget that provides more money for landlords the government is predictably pushing the responsibility for housing onto the private rental market. Almost 20,000 subsidised private rental tenancies will be used to meet social housing need. This is a short term strategy which provides no security for tenants and leaves them vulnerable to homelessness”.
Finally, commenting on the failure to seriously address the issue of climate change Teachta Adams said:
“The United Nations report on global warning has warned that the governments of the world have 12 years in which to avert a major climate catastrophe. The report warns that failure to act will see extreme weather conditions worsen, increase the risks to citizens, impact on the food supply and will damage the world’s economy.
To tackle this significant problem humanity has to reduce carbon emission and adopt renewable energy sources. The reality is that this government has failed on both counts and Budget 2019 is another missed opportunity.
As a result this state will not only miss its international obligations on carbon emissions but it will face fines of hundreds of millions of euro”.