09 December 2010

Fitzgerald lashes out as carers hit twice by FF/Green Budget

Frances pictured with Clondalkin carers
Fitzgerald criticises Government as it cuts Carers' Allowance and Carers' Tax Relief - in a double whammy of cuts on the "unsung heroes" in Clondlakin and Lucan.

Fine Gael General Election candiate Frances Fitzgerald has slammed the Government for cutting carers in the Budget - not once but twice!

“Budget 2011 is a real "kick in the teeth" for carers in Clondalkin and Lucan. They are hit twice with cuts to both the Carers’ Allowance and the Carer’s Tax Relief,” said Senator Fitzgerald.

Reacting to these cuts, Fitzgerald said, "We all knew tough decisions had to be made in the Budget but it says a lot about the priorities of the Government when they chose to cut essential payments and tax reliefs which support the unsung heroes in our county and our country.”

“Carers provide an invaluable service in our community, providing love care and wavering dedication to their loved ones with special needs or older relatives. They have tough jobs and to be knocked like this is a real blow,” continued Fitzgerald.

"Politics is about choices - and there were choice available to this Government. Fine Gael put forward a budget plan that made the necessary savings and tough decisions but protects carers, the disabled, widows and the blind. We recognise that the vulnerable in society must be protected. They did not cause this economic mess yet they are now being asked to pay an unfair price for almost 14 years of Fianna Fail economic incompetence. In Government, Fine Gael will work to reverse these cruel, illogical and unnecessary cuts. My Party have already had conversations with the IMF about the fact that in Government we will alter the specific policies of Fianna Fail," said Senator Fitzgerald.

“These carers save the State an absolute fortune by keeping people out of hospitals, nursing homes and care centres. They go about their work quietly and provide care on a continuous and often 24/7 basis. Despite all this, the Budget put forward by Fianna Fail and the Greens cuts the supports offered to carers in two places - it reduces the Carers' Allowances and it reduces the carers' tax relief.

"Cuts to widows pensions, carers' allowances, invalidity pensions and the blind pensions amount to only €90 million of €6 billion in Government cuts and savings. This is such a small proportion, there is absolutely no doubt it could have been avoided. But Fianna Fail let this go ahead in the Budget and Fianna Fail TDs propped up by a few Independents and Greens prepare to walk into the Dail lobbies and enact these cruel cuts," continued Fitzgerald.

"I have always supported and championed carers in their work in Clondalkin and Lucan. I will continue to work to highlight their important role in society and to seek proper support for their work," concluded Fitzgerald.