Remember the extra €3.5bn Fianna Fáil called for in spending last year? – Burke

-   Peter Burke TD

Fianna Fáil are once again attempting to speak out of both sides of their mouth by attempting to play the fiscal prudence card, while at the same time calling for lavish spending increases, Fine Gael TD Peter Burke has said.

The Westmeath TD today said every day in the Dáil and Seanad, FF call for extra spending and more of taxpayer’s money to be lashed out as the solution to every problem – totalling at least €3.5bn last year.

Instead of costing, detailing and explaining where public money should be spent Fianna Fáil have been constantly making loose calls for spending on proposals across the board without due consideration of the financial implications involved.

Deputy Burke said: “This morning Deputy Michael McGrath questioned my claim that Fianna Fáil have been making opulent spending calls.

“I’m happy to remind him of the work which I compiled earlier this year regarding Fianna Fáil’s largesse when it comes to the public purse.

“There is no coherent strategy from Fianna Fáil, just their well-worn approach of throw cash at whatever the issue is. ‘When we have it we spend it’ still seems to be the Fianna Fáil mantra.

“I am genuinely concerned that the main opposition party believe that their financial recklessness in the past has been forgotten.

“I was amazed to hear Deputy McGrath attempt to float the idea that Fianna Fáil proposed the rainy day fund.

“The proposal for a rainy day fund was in black and white in the Fine Gael 2016 manifesto. Fianna Fáil, however, did not commit to putting a regular amount of money into a rainy day fund, rather they only committed to saving any extra corporation tax receipts that may materialise.

“Given their track record, you’d have to treat even that meagre proposal with a high degree of scepticism.

“This is exactly the type of mentality that led us into the financial turmoil we faced a decade ago – absolutely nobody, not even Fianna Fáil dare I suggest, will want to go back there,” he added.

Throughout 2018, Deputy Burke listed and tallied Fianna Fáil spending demands which amounted to €3.5 billion.

“This is a minimum and conservative estimate and does not include the many more spending calls made by Micheál Martin’s party which are impossible to cost.

“Nevertheless that didn’t stop Fianna Fáil’s financial recklessness. For the first five months of the year, they made spending calls amounting to €1.5bn and they managed to add at least €2bn onto that tally for the remaining months of 2018.

“Fianna Fáil and Micheál Martin have displayed good political judgement in allowing the Confidence and Supply arrangement continue until 2020. We, in Fine Gael, in a minority Government work with opposition members to ensure legislation is passed and the correct decisions are taken for the country.

“Many of the measures called for by Fianna Fáil are fine by themselves and in some cases are being implemented by Fine Gael in Government. The problem is not any individual proposal, but rather that the totality of the commitments highlights the lack of internal coherence in Fianna Fáil when it comes to economic management.

“Fianna Fáil have made this €3.5 billion worth of promises, while not proposing any reductions to the other areas of public expenditure to finance this additional spend, nor have they proposed any tax increases.

“Fine Gael has led the country back to full employment and has balanced the books allowing for future prosperity and growth in very challenging international circumstances. This is the path from which we will not deviate – no matter what hasty calls are made upon us,” Deputy Burke said.

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