Senator Robbie Gallagher says that Fianna Fail has ensured that fairness for families and people on low and middle incomes was prioritised in the Budget. Key elements of the Confidence & Supply arrangement such as childcare provision and additional health spending were delivered this week, he said.
“Childcare continues to be one of the biggest issues facing families. Fianna Fáil introduced the Early Childhood Care and Education almost a decade ago, and the decision to increase the number of weeks that children are eligible for is a welcome move. However, more progress is needed to ensure that parents, whose children are either too young or too old to qualify for the scheme, are given alternative affordable childcare options. This is something we will be continuing to press with Minister Zappone”, said Senator Gallagher.
“We have consistently called for extra funding for the National Treatment Purchase Fund and the extra €55m investment in the scheme is welcome. We are beginning to see the results of the additional funding allocated to the NTPF from last year, and I am hopeful that this further investment will deliver for the thousands of people languishing on waiting lists here in Cavan and Monaghan,” he added.
“Fianna Fáil’s commitment to older people was demonstrated in the range of measures included in the Budget that will support older people in their later years. While we need to see the full detail of the budget in terms of the Social Welfare Bill and the HSE Service Plan, there are many positives for older people.
Fianna Fáil once again secured a €5 per week increase in the State Pension, an extra week of Fuel Allowance plus a new €2.50 weekly allowance to adults living on their own and in terms of the health service, there will be additional funding for home care packages and a greater use of transitional beds to allow older people get out of acute hospitals more quickly.”
“While ultimately this Budget is the work of Government, we have used our influence to ensure that our core priorities in the Confidence & Supply arrangement were brought to bear. We secured a 2:1 split on services to tax reductions and are curbing the right wing, U.S. style tax policy approach of Fine Gael.
However, the big test of the budget will be delivery and we will continue to monitor progress in health, housing, education and costs for families in the months ahead” he concluded.