Sinn Féin are still pursuing fantasy economics in their response to the ECB’s plans to increase mortgage interest rates, according to Fine Gael TD John Paul Phelan.
Deputy Phelan said, “We have become accustomed to Sinn Féin putting forward unworkable and uncosted policies that would lead to the financial and economic destruction of this country if they were imposed.
“Now they want the State to sign yet another blank cheque in response to the ECB move to increase mortgage interest rates.
“After a month of hiding away from the media to answer questions on a number of controversies facing her party, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald finally resurfaced last week to call for the State to pick up the tab on their proposed mortgage interest relief scheme.
“Deputy McDonald claimed the move would be a ‘tailored time bound approach’ that would ensure the State could afford a level of mortgage interest relief. The proposal was also put forward in the Dáil by the party’s finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty last week.
“When asked about basic details on the scheme, Deputy McDonald said her team ‘were in opposition and not in Government’ and could not put a price on it.
“Sinn Féin spent countless months calling for a mini budget in response to every price rise across multiple sectors, in addition to an irresponsible blank cheque price gap guarantee for energy companies.
“We can see how this approach turned out in the United Kingdom, where a mini budget of major tax cuts and reliefs caused market turmoil, the collapse of the British pound and the resignation of Prime Minister Truss.
“Deputy Doherty, who aspires to be the next Finance Minister, knows full well that Government has no role in setting official interest rates nor in setting the retail interest rates that banks and financial institutions charge.
“Interest rates are set by the Governing Council of the European Central Bank and have been since the ECB was established back in 1998 – following agreement of most member States and, in some cases, by citizens through referenda. Let’s not forget Sinn Féin were against joining the EU, the single market and the Euro.
“Banks and financial institutions are heavily regulated for good reason, but they are privately-owned businesses and are free to conduct their business within the parameters of the law and other conduct of business rules.
“Our Government did the right thing in responding to this crisis with a Budget 2023 worth €11bn – which included a €4.4bn package of once-off measures to address the current cost of living, in addition to other payments made since the start of the year.
“We want to help people with childcare, public transport, the cost of putting a child through school, or saving up for your first home.
“We are also supporting pensioners, carers and the most vulnerable with lump-sum payments, bonus payments and increases to core social welfare rates.
“Sinn Féin are a high tax, anti-jobs party who would wreck the economy and just cannot be trusted to manage the State’s finance. We need only look across the water to see how a radical agenda of tax cuts and spending based on borrowing worked out,” Deputy Phelan said