[Sinn Fein]

7th December 2002

Protest against Budgets Measures

Sinn Fein will hold a protest against the various government budgets in Daunt Square, Cork this afternoon at 3 p.m. It will also be highlighting the increase in service charges and decrease in services in the proposed estimates to be put before Cork County Council on Monday next.

Cllr Jonathan O Brien said: "Since the election last May, this government has introduced a series of budgets, mini budgets and tax increases. They amount to broken promises, an increase in charges and a decrease in services. Major cuts have included the axing of the first-time home buyers grant; the reneging on the promise to extend medical card entitlement to a further 200,000 people; the cut in the school building programme; the social housing cuts; the shortfall in the health budget; the cutting of 5,000 CE places.

Amongst those hardest hit, are those on low incomes and pensioners. Many of the charges have been introduced outside the official budget. Next Monday, Cork City Council will be faced with the almost impossible task of squaring its books. Deprived of sufficient funding for a second year in a row the city manager is proposing a massive increase in service charges, an increase in rents and a cut in services.

These proposed cuts and increased charges are a direct result of government policy. Again it is those least able who will be hit.

The protest today is to show he anger of people at the governments policy of increasing the divide in society between those who are very well off and those who have to struggle for a living."

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