‘Anti budget’ protest at McHugh’s office

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A number of groups plan to stage a protest outside Fine Gael TD Joe McHugh’s office in Letterkenny this Friday.

Following last week’s budget Donegal Action Against Austerity, Donegal People Before Profit, Donegal Campaign Against Home and Water Taxes claim the government’s hit-list consists of small businesses, pregnant women, young people, people with disability and the elderly. ‘

Spokesperson for the groups, Buncrana anti austerity activist, Joe Murphy said as groups with a common interest in favour of the poor, the young, the elderly, the unemployed and the vulnerable they were holding a protest to show their anger at the constant repressive budgets and policies of the Fine Gael/Labour government.

Mr. Murphy said: “The Fine Gael/Labour government are now removing medical cards from very vulnerable and sick people.

“In addition they will now charge sick people an extra €1 per item on prescriptions. The Fine Gael/Labour government are removing the phone allowance for elderly people, which comes in addition to cuts to their household benefits package and Fuel Allowance last year.

“ The Fine Gael/Labour government are forcing more and more young people out of the country by cutting the Job Seekers Allowance for under 26s.

“No wonder the unemployment figures are dropping! They are reducing illness benefit, maternity benefit and they have removed the bereavement grant!

“This is not only a cruel budget of cuts and taxes but it is also a budget that has done nothing for the most vulnerable.

“With 110,000 people on the housing list, boasting about building 500 houses to alleviate the situation is a farce.

“By the time those houses are built there will be easily more than another 500 on the list! “

Mr. Murphy said it was unacceptable that Fine Gael would introduce a budget such as this and Labour’s support of this ‘just goes to show how out of touch they are’ from the ordinary people of this country.

He commented: ‘Fine Gael senator, Jimmy Harte’s replies to questions on Highland Radio, last week, were a great example of gutter politics. Attack the person and don’t answer the question”

He went on: “It’s time for change! It’s time that the wealthy elite and large corporations put something back into our country and our people instead of buying off the Fine Gael/Labour government to give them protection and increase their profits which they then send out to bank accounts in the Caribbean and other tax havens..

Urging support for the protest outside the Fine Gael office Mr Murphy concluded: “We urge all individuals and representative groups affected by the recent budget cuts and taxes to come and share their anger with us outside the offices of Fine Gael. We all have an obligation to protect the vulnerable in our community.

Meanwhile Sinn Féin has printed 25,000 postcards, which will be distributed across rural Ireland, calling on people to raise this issue in the local media, and to lobby local government representatives to have the telephone allowance and other cuts reversed.

Speaking at the weekend Deputy Padraig MacLochlainn said Sinn Féin’s alternative budget proposed reducing “the deficit in a fair way, without putting the burden on the most vulnerable in society”.

He said the cuts would particularly effect people living in isolated, rural areas.