Senators are being accused of “hypocrisy” in feigning concern for the homeless and the poor in the pre-Christmas period, while supporting Government policy that engenders hardship.
The criticism was made by Sinn Féin senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh who reminded his fellow Seanad colleagues recently that “much of the hardship is due to successive cuts to budgets that they have fully endorsed”.
“I fully agree that the number of people homeless in Ireland is unacceptable, that having 90,000 people waiting on housing lists is unacceptable, that the increased dependence on voluntary organisations such as St Vincent De Paul, Simon, and many others is very worrying and that services like the Samaritans are doing incredible work in supporting people in difficult circumstances. But it smacks of hypocrisy of the highest order when Government senators express their concern in the Seanad when they opposed measures Sinn Féin and others have put forward to alleviate these very difficult situations for people.”
The Galway West senator further stated that Sinn Féin brought forward legislation this year to have equality budgeting measures taken into account when budgets are being allocated, but this was opposed by the Government. He added that the party also sought to have inability to pay clauses and poverty proofing measures included in legislation, as well as putting forward proposals in the run-up to the Budget to alleviate the pressures on low and middle income families but these were roundly rejected.
“This administration of Fine Gael and Labour representatives has continued the austerity economics which were championed by Fianna Fáil and the Greens when in government.”
Senator Ó Clochartaigh concluded: “The political amnesia now of Government senators is disingenuous to say the least, as they play to the media gallery with their concern for citizens in the run-up to Christmas, whilst having supported the cuts to vital funding which could have actually made a real difference.”