Cork South Central TD, Micheál Martin has said that Budget 2018 contains a number of measures, delivered by Fianna Fáil, which will improve the delivery of core public services in this country.
The Fianna Fáil Leader was commenting after the announcement of the Budget provisions by the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe.
“Fianna Fáil ensured that a focus and emphasis was placed on the improvement of services such as education, health and for people with disabilities.
“The reduction in the pupil teacher ratio, the reintroduction of guidance counsellors, the allocation of additional funding for 3rd level institutions and the continued expansion of post graduate grants are in Budget 2018 because of Fianna Fáil.
“The further development of the National Treatment Purchase Fund to end the scandal of long waiting times for basic health services and procedures was a key demand of Fianna Fáil.
“In fact, without Fianna Fáil’s Confidence and Supply arrangement with Fine Gael, it would still be mothballed.
“Ensuring that those on low and fixed incomes got a modest increase in their weekly income was a priority for Fianna Fáil ahead of the budget. The €5 per week increase for welfare payments, including the State Pension, is a welcome increase, but more will be required over the next number of budgets to ensure that the most vulnerable in our society get the support they need.
“I do have major concerns about the Government’s plans for affordable housing. There was no mention of it in today’s budget announcement, and I am concerned about the ability of an entire generation of people, mainly young people, to own their own home.
“The Capital Plan, due to be published by the Government in the coming weeks, must address this glaring omission. There are too many young people across Cork at risk of never being able to get social housing or obtain a standard mortgage. This needs to be fixed urgently,” concluded Martin.