[Sinn Fein]

Dy February 1996

Budget reaction - `a missed opportunity', says Gerry Adams

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said:

``Although the Budget contains measures which are welcome, although long overdue, they are just a drop in the ocean in terms of the spending really needed to have been made by a Government riding high on the back of the Celtic Tiger economy.''

The Sinn Fein president said that much more could have been done in a Budget which was ``a missed opportunity''..

``For example, taking all minimum-wage workers completely out of the tax net, doubling personal tax allowances, initiating a State-assisted and State-wide childcare infrastructure, more generous Child Benefit payments and higher pensions and social welfare payments.

``And why did Minister McCreevy not make payments effective from January 2001 rather than wait until April of next year?''

Mr Adams continued:

``This Budget was a missed opportunity by the Government to start to dismantle the two-tier society.

``Irish society is one where your wealth and income determines almost completely your social and economic role in society. It determines the quality of housing, health care and schooling you will receive.

``Minister McCreevy sacrificed taking all minimum-wage workers out of the tax net in order to give something extra to the top earners. He could also have used the funds from the higher-paid tax cut to make further increases in Child Benefit but, once again, he favoured the well-off.

``Minister McCreevy and the Coalition Government have made some changes which will be welcomed by beleaguered families but have they have failed to seriously get to grips with the root problems that make everyday living and planning for the future such a struggle for so many of those same families.''

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