Budget will drive talented young people from this country, says Healy-Eames

Last evening's Budget will drive talented people away from this country by making them seriously consider emigration, a Galway senator claimed last night.

Speaking after the Budget speech by Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, a disappointed Senator Fidelma Healy Eames (FG ) said this is a cruel budget for young people.

She said that it will force young Irish people to seriously consider emigration.

"Instead of providing a visitor attraction in Wexford in the honour of JFK, it would have been far more important, in his honour, if this Government provided opportunities for young people to stem emigration from this country.

"The problem is this budget offers no jobs opportunities for young people. It completely disregarded the existing high levels of youth unemployment (less than 25 years ) in cities like Galway where over 5,500 young people are currently unemployed. In fact it made their plight much worse by substantially reducing social welfare to €100 per week (aged 20 & 21years ) and to €150 per week (aged 22, 23, 24 ) respectively.

"Link this to the crushing blow of the €16 cut per child in Child Benefit, young families likely to be already in negative equity and for young parents this is truly a dangerous budget. Real poverty is once more an ever-increasing reality," she said.

All of this is against a background of an unapologetic government that blew the boom, bailed out the banks and has made the innocent and young pay for their errors. It is unforgiveable, said Senator Fidelma Healy Eames.

She was supported by Deputy Michael D Higgins who said that Deputy Higgins said that it will affect the poorest of the poor and the tragic reality of it is that there will be deaths.

:” Today the government has cut the aid budget by €25 million, which comes on top of a cut of €224m in 2009 which represented 24 per cent of the budget. This means that there has been a reduction in a twelve month period of €249m in ODA spending. “The cut in ODA is disproportionate. In 2008 ODA expenditure by Ireland was €900 million- that is, 0.54per cent of GNP. That expenditure kept us on track for the attainment of the UN target of 0.7 per cent of GNP in 2012. The government had already moved from the date announced at the United Nations, by former Taoiseach Ahern, of 2007," he said.

“Now, again, we are cutting our aid. In the past we had argued that we were too rich to be paying 0.7%; now we are making a cut that is half again as great as we are making in every other area of public expenditure. This latest delay in reaching the 0.7 per cent target will mean the loss of hundreds of millions of euros to the fight against poverty. The reality of what this means is stark: tens of thousands of people will be deprived of access to healthcare, education, and support to people to work their way out of poverty.

“It is sad to think that the programme which has such practical benefit has been cut back because of disgraceful mismanagement of our economy and the craven actions of a clique at the top of the banking system who have imperilled the Irish economy and tarnished its reputation abroad.“

However Fianan Fail TD Frank Fahy welcoemd the budget and the allocation of more than €70 million to be provided in the coming months to help people affected by the recent flooding “The Government has provided €70 million in the 2010 Budget to help people affected by the flooding and to provide for studies to alleviate the risk of future flooding.”

The funding will be spent between now and the end of the year and at the start of next year.”

"Hydrological surveys are beginning in Galway to establish flooding causes and risks and they will be completed shortly.”

There are many areas in Galway still reeling after the effects of the recent flooding and it is vital that this funding reaches the people who need it as soon as possible,” Dep Fahey concluded.

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