The Labour leader Brendan Howlin is calling for social welfare increases if the threat of a no-deal Brexit is taken off the table in the coming days.
There were no across-the-board social welfare increases announced in this year’s budget – the first time most rates remained unchanged since 2010.
The Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe justified the move by pointing to the looming threat of a no-deal Brexit.
However, if the UK House of Commons can approve the new Brexit deal in the coming days – and pass the required the legislation – that threat will be removed.
Brendan Howlin said the most vulnerable members of society should be the first to benefit.
“Pensioners and welfare recipients were denied cost of living increases because of the threat of no deal Brexit,” he said.
“If that issue is taken off the table tomorrow by the House of Commons then the whole social welfare package needs to be revisited.”
He said Fine Gael was able to find enough money in the budget to “paper over” it spending errors – and insisted Minister Donohoe’s Brexit budget should be revisited.
“It was unfair and remains unfair to let welfare fall behind the rising cost of living,” he said.
“But if no deal Brexit is removed tomorrow then Fine Gael's threadbare justification for their actions disappears and they should ensure some of the least well off in our society are given a break.”
He noted that Fianna Fáil also “stood over” the budget said it “will also be up to Micheal Martin to undo this injustice.”