Squeezed middle income earners would fare badly under Sinn Féin’s error-ridden cash payment plan, according to Fine Gael TD, Kieran O’Donnell.
Deputy Kieran O’Donnell said: “On Friday, we had Sinn Féin produce yet another threadbare document with no mention of how to create jobs and provide citizens with an income and a livelihood.
“Their plan to provide direct cash payments to workers on different incomes is poorly targeted.
“Under their plan, the highest payment of €500 is at an income of €21,300 which is below both the minimum wage and the living wage for the average working week of 39 hours. Their middle payment of €300 is at €40,000 below the average full-time wage.
“But ordinary workers on the average wage wouldn’t benefit properly at a time when they are in real need of help to meet rising energy and household costs which the Government is focused on providing.
“In a recent interview party leader Mary Lou McDonald claimed someone earning between €60,000 and €70,000 would get a flat payment of €100.
“For example, two people in a household both earning €65,000 with a total income of €130,000 would both get a cash payment.
“Yet an individual earning just over €70,000, who may be single or the only earner in their household who pays all the bills themselves, would get zero under the Sinn Féin plan.
“When this glaring discrepancy was pointed out to Deputy McDonald in the interview, she claimed she didn’t know of any scheme that was perfect or anomaly free. The party’s cash payment proposal is vague, inconsistent and seriously lacking in detail.
“She also suggested that the €1.6 billion her party estimated would cover the cost of an energy price cap from October to February would be enough, with the costs calculated on what they were before the huge rise in energy prices, which are primarily being driven by Putin’s war on Ukraine.
“We know that the cost of such a scheme would be far higher, as the UK energy cap is estimated to cost £100bn in the first year according to the UK Institute for Fiscal Studies. Its population is 13 times the size of ours, therefore an energy cap in Ireland would cost €8bn.
“This demonstrates once again that Sinn Féin’s reckless proposals do not stand up to scrutiny and they cannot be trusted to manage the State coffers.
“Tomorrow we will see a Budget brought forward that will put more money back in the pockets of all families who are struggling with the cost of living.
“We will support pensioners, carers and the most vulnerable. We will help those on disability allowance, lone parents’ allowance and all who rely on social welfare who are being hit hardest by the cost-of-living crisis.
“And we will support families who are working hard and contributing with their taxes, but are struggling with childcare fees, energy bills and their mortgage or rent.”