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Fine Gael has already forgotten the lessons of last year’s General Election

As Fine Gael gather for their think-in it seems that they have already forgotten what they were told by the electorate last year – “people want decent services not tax cuts,” claimed Roisin Shortall TD, co-leader of the Social Democrats.

“The Taoiseach and his Cabinet colleagues are hung up on the notion of tax cuts for middle income earners, while what people in that bracket, and indeed all income brackets, want is to have access to good public services when they need them. Middle income earners are hit by the hugely inflated cost of housing, whether renting or buying, are hit by the high cost of healthcare with the exorbitant cost of health insurance and little or no universal services. People on middle incomes are hit by the high cost of childcare, which is among the most expensive in Europe,” said Deputy Shortall.

“What is the point of possibly an extra fiver a week in tax cuts when families continue to struggle with the high cost of living and very poor services? Simply cutting taxes will do little to improve people’s circumstances. In fact, cutting taxes is likely to further heat the economy and drive up costs even further.”

Deputy Shortall went on to say that: “Fine Gael needs to realise that by investing in public services and targeting some key costs in family budgets, as the Social Democrats have been promoting, the Government can have a far more positive impact on family income, without eroding the tax base.

“At their think-in also, Fine Gael might reflect on the fact that they are expected to govern, not merely commentate from the side-lines or engage in spin. After more than six years in power it is time for Fine Gael to come up with the solutions to the big problems that have arisen under their watch and stop making excuses.

“Fine Gael’s obsession with the next general election after a mere 16 months since this government was formed serves as a major distraction from the acute problems in housing and in health. Being in government means being prepared to govern and that means taking responsibility for solving problems now, not at some point in the distant future.”