Fianna Fáil: Allowing Budget 2020 to pass 'not an endorsement of Government'

Reaction to Budget 2020 has been mixed. Fianna Fáil Fianna Fáil has said that their allowing it...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.27 8 Oct 2019

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Fianna Fáil: Allowing Budget 2...

Fianna Fáil: Allowing Budget 2020 to pass 'not an endorsement of Government'

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.27 8 Oct 2019

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Reaction to Budget 2020 has been mixed.

Fianna Fáil

Fianna Fáil has said that their allowing it to pass "should not be misread as an endorsement of this Government."


The party's finance spokesperson Michael McGrath said: "Like many of our citizens, we are deeply frustrated at the Government's obsession with spin and PR, and the failure to deliver where it matters."

"The pain from a hard Brexit will not be evenly spread - it will be most acute in the regions where agriculture and tourism are pillars of the local economy."

"The State's finances, according to the summer economic statement will deteriorate by some €30bn over the next five years.

"Next year, Ireland will have to borrow some €5bn if a no-deal Brexit becomes a reality. This is on top of the nearly €20bn that the NTMA needs to be refinance."

"Brexit is already having a dampening effect on business sentiment and confidence. Brexit is here and now for some sectors and businesses."

"Fianna Fáil has given the Government the support it needs on Brexit, but we have serious and deep concerns about the preparations for a no-deal Brexit."

He said: "The Government, first, needs to come clean on what a no-deal Brexit will look like for people and businesses.

"Up until relatively recently, the Government assured those same businesses that there would be no physical infrastructure on the border, even in the event of a no deal.

"Yet slowly and surely it has become clear that this will not be the case.

"The Government language has noticeably changed. There will be checks if there is a no deal, but we have no clarity on what this will look like."

"No clarity on where the checks will take place, no clarity on what checks will take place and no clarity on how long these checks will take.

"We still have no idea how the major ports of Dublin, Rosslare, Ringaskiddy and Shannon Foynes will deal with the increased number of checks, the backlogs and delays."

"There has been precious little for SMEs to work off. If businesses do not know what sort of delays they will experience on their supply chain, how are they going to make the necessary changes."

Paul Murphy

Rise TD Paul Murphy said Budget 2020 is "a tale of two budgets".

"f you are wealthy, if you're a developer, or a major corporation this budget will benefit you.

"If you are a low or middle income worker, part of a rural family, or are affected by the housing crisis, this budget will leave you worse off.

"The budget further exacerbates the inequality in society - placing the burden of Brexit and climate change on working class people, while continuing handouts and give-aways to the rich and wealthy.

"The carbon tax is an eco-austerity measure masquerading as environmental policy.

"It puts the burden on the shoulders of ordinary people, while letting the big polluting corporations who are most responsible for carbon emissions off the hook again."

"The carbon tax is an ineffective weapon in tackling climate change.

"One study that looked at 19 jurisdictions that implemented carbon taxes found that it would take over 110 years to reach an 80% emissions-reduction based on a carbon tax.

"Allowing the wealthy and big corporations to carry on a business-as-usual approach means sacrificing the interests of the planet and of working class people.

"Meanwhile, hand-outs have been delivered to developers through the continuation of the so-called 'Help-to-Buy' scheme.

"In reality, this is a 'Help-to-Profit' scheme for the developers, who lobbied hard for the introduction and then retention of this scheme."

Peter McVerry

The Peter McVerry Trust has said the budget was "a missed opportunity" to strengthen ongoing work to prevent homelessness and deliver more social housing

The charity said that notwithstanding the major challenges of climate change and Brexit, homelessness needs to be given greater priority - since the number of people accessing emergency accommodation has risen by over 6% since Budget 2019 was announced last October.

The charity said it welcomed the increase in the overall housing budget to just €2.5bn and an increase in the State's funding for emergency homeless accommodation to €166m for 2020.

Francis Doherty from the Peter McVerry Trust said: "We welcome the increase in the operational budget for emergency accommodation which reflects an expected increase in the numbers of people who will experience homelessness in 2020.

"Unfortunately, the €20m increase in the funding in 2020 will be split across emergency accommodation, prevention measures as well as day services.

"Given that the rate of new cases into homelessness is at the highest rate on record, Peter McVerry Trust advocated strongly and had hoped for a robust package of prevention initiatives."

Adrian Cummins

Adrian Cummins, chief executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) was critical of no change to the tourism VAT rate.

"This was the incorrect decision by Government.

"The writing was on the wall, CSO figures showed trips to Ireland decreased by 0.5% in July 2019 and decreased by 1.0% in August 2019.

"The sector needed support to lower the cost of doing business - this Government has demonstrated that Ireland is no place for small business. Minister Ross has once again shown that he has failed the tourism industry".

"Additional monies given to Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland only in the event of a no-deal Brexit... however do not directly and immediately have a positive effect on individual businesses in the industry and in no way impact increasing costs of doing business for tourism and hospitality businesses in Ireland."


Barnardos CEO Suzanne Connolly said: "Barnardos are pleased to see the Government take the first step towards introducing free education by announcing funding for school books for primary school children.

"For well over a decade, Barnardos has led the campaign for the introduction of free education for primary school children and we are delighted to see Budget 2020 make the first step in realising this goal.

"The directing of resources to tackle child poverty in Budget 2020 is also a positive development.

"This includes targeted increases in social welfare for families on low incomes and investment in the new National Childcare Scheme which will benefit all families, including those who are disadvantaged. Barnardos also welcomes increased supports for children with disabilities.

"There is an understandable focus on the economy at present but it is important that the needs of the most vulnerable are not neglected."

"In a recent Barnardos survey, in which 800 parents responded, one in four told us that they did not know where to get help if they were worried about their child.

"These are the families that we would have liked to see receive more targeted support in Budget 2020.

"There is a welcome increase in funding for Tusla and to support families living in homeless accommodation. However, we await the details as to what this increase in funding will be targeted towards and whether the funding will be allocated to provide intensive family support services which Barnardos has called for."

The AA

The AA Ireland has warned that simply increasing carbon tax as outlined in the budget will be enough to reduce reliance on the private car.

The increase is expected to add approximately 2c to a litre of petrol or diesel - equivalent to an increase of approximately €36 per year in fuel costs.

Conor Faughnan, AA director of consumer affairs, said: "Fuel prices naturally fluctuate as a result of international factors and, if you go back to 2014 and 2015, we were seeing prices in the low-to mid 1.50s for a litre of petrol with these high prices having no impact on car usage as many simply didn't have an alternative.

"Increasing the price today and in future years through increases to carbon tax will only achieve one thing, which is to generate additional revenue for Government without having any impact on our over-reliance on the private car."

"Government have cynically taken advantage of the climate crisis to justify a tax increase, instead of outlining measures which would actually lead to reductions in our carbon emissions.

"Investing in public transport infrastructure, Luas-like systems across our main cities, quality cycle lanes, all these measures would do far more to get people out of the car than a tax increase ever will."

"Instead, what the taxpayer is being asked to swallow today is a Government saying 'we'll increase the tax now, and we promise that we'll invest it in climate change measures in the future - trust us.'

"While the Government have vowed to increase funding in sustainable transport, which the AA has been calling for, both the current Government and their predecessors have received significant revenue annually from fuel taxation and have time and time again failed to invest in proper alternatives to the car.

"Even the measures announced today, particularly the investment in cycling infrastructure, fall a long way short of what is needed to provide viable alternatives to the car."

However, the AA welcomed plans replace the diesel surcharge introduced last year with a nox-emissions-based charge - a move which the organisation claims could actually have a significant benefit in reducing Ireland's carbon emissions.

"The moved to nox-emissions-based charging will help to close the gap in terms of the cost of a new car versus a second-hand UK import, which is one of the main issues facing efforts to make Irish transport cleaner."


Alone has expressed its disappointment there has not been further support for older people.

The charity said it is frustrated that there has not been further support in the areas of pensions and home supports, while welcoming initiatives such as the increase to the Living Alone allowance.

"The decision to deny older people any increase to their pension is hugely frustrating," said Alone CEO Seán Moynihan.

"Many people assume that older people have their financial needs met by their State pension.

"Financial hardship is often a hidden issue among older people, yet it is the third most frequent reason older people contact Alone.

"In 2017, more than 63,000 people over 65 were experiencing enforced deprivation.

"In order to deliver financial security to older people the pension needs to be benchmarked against 35% of average earnings, which would require an increase of at least €7-€9 to the state pension this year and in the coming years."


SIPTU General-Secretary designate, Joe Cunningham, said Budget 2020 is "muddled, contradictory and regressive."

"Workers paid for the banking crisis and the budgetary crisis. Now it seems our members and other workers are expected to pay for Brexit and the climate crisis.

"In our view the budget is muddled, contradictory and regressive".

"Unless there is strict accountability, the Brexit fund promised in the Budget 2020 could become a massive handover to employers.

"All the stakeholders - employees, employers and the State - must be involved in the design, monitoring and evaluation of any spending from this fund.

"It is crucial that 'good faith employers' - those employers that participate in, and abide by, the State's industrial relations machinery - be given particular preference."


The housing charity Threshold has expressed disappointment in the absence of a "sufficient funding increase for homeless prevention services".

Its CEO John-Mark McCafferty said: "Of the extra €20m allocated to homeless services in today's budget, we at Threshold envisage that the majority of this will go directly into the pockets of hoteliers and private accommodation providers, and will do little to help keep people in their homes.

"While we welcome the extra €2m allocated to the RTB to allow it to enforce Rent Pressure Zone regulations more efficiently, we are disappointed not to see measures to reduce rents for those struggling in the private rented sector.

"While the €80m in additional funding for the HAP scheme is also welcome, just yesterday we saw that only 104 of the 907 three-bed properties advertised on were below the HAP caps."

"Ahead of the budget the Taoiseach indicated that the Government's Help-to-Buy scheme needed to be modified, but no such change was announced today.

"The scheme in its current form does little for low to middle income earners who don't get a look-in with regard to getting on the property ladder."


Labour spokesperson on housing, Jan O’Sullivan, said the Government has failed to deliver a housing budget that will radically address the ongoing crisis.

"The housing and homelessness crisis is one of the biggest issues this country has ever faced.

"We needed to see radical proposals in this Budget to tackle it. Instead we're seeing more of the same.

"The cost of renting a home is now higher than it was at the height of the boom.

"But we have seen no relief for hard-pressed renters in Budget 2020, other than €2m in funding allocated to the Residential Tenancies Board to boost enforcement of Rent Pressure Zones.

"As we all know, RPZs have failed to cap spiralling rents, and for many in high demand areas such as Dublin in particular, a 4% increase on rent is itself significant."

"There’s no step-change in the snail's pace delivery of social housing, no affordable housing, minimal support for retrofitting for low-income households…no ambition."

Disability groups

Six disability organisations are calling for the Rehabilitative Training Allowance of €31.80 per week to be reinstated.

Disability Federation of Ireland, Rehab Group, Central Remedial Clinic, Irish Wheelchair Association, Aontas and Inclusion Ireland believe this cut will "widen the poverty gap for people living with a disability."

Their call has also been supported by autism advocacy group AsIAm, and the Irish Association of Social Workers.

They say it also places even more barriers to participation in the path of people with a disability.

Joan Carthy, spokesperson for the group, said: "We are hugely disappointed that the Government has ignored us and the voices of students directly affected by this cut.

"In September we presented a solution to this issue, which would have seen the RT allowance restored for all new entrants, while the Government conducted a speedy review to see how the RT allowance should be paid in the future.

"If it concluded that another agency (such as SOLAS, for instance) was a better home for the RT allowance, we would accept that.

"However, the Government has chosen not to listen.

"This cruel cut is targeted at people who have already overcome significant disadvantage throughout their lives.

"It places enormous pressure on students and their families to fill the financial gap created."

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Adrian Cummins Alone Barnardos Brexit Budget 2020 Carbon Tax Fianna Fáil Francis Doherty Joe Cunningham Michael McGrath Paul Murphy Peter McVerry Reaction SIPTU Seán Moynihan The AA VAT Rate

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