Michael Fitzmaurice TD has expressed his disappointed with a number of proposals outlined in Budget 2017 saying that while it contained some good measures “no one in rural Ireland will be getting too excited by what’s in it.”
Speaking last night Michael Fitzmaurice said “Middle Ireland have got very little out of this budget. They have about €3 extra a week which won’t go too far. The rise of €5 per week in Pensions and other Social Welfare payments is very little and only a token to be honest.
“I am very disappointed the lack of spending on rural development and regeneration in this budget. On rural regeneration I spoke with former Minister Alan Kelly and he told me that what he announced last year was not spent so it was announced again today.The scales are still tipping towards Dublin and the East coast when it comes to infrastructural development. We need a balanced spread of spending so everyone will benefit” he added.
“I welcome the aid for the first time house buyer but I hope it is handled properly. I will be hoping that people that are building once off housing in rural areas get the same tax breaks too. But remember that people will have to have been working for four years to qualify. ”
“With regard to Childcare I would like to see the total package when the details are released but remember also that the package announced today will not start until September 2017 which is less than a month away from the next budget. A lot of the announcements made today have been made in the past.”
On Farming issues Michael Fitzmaurice said “The money for the Sheep sector announced today was there when we negotiated the programme for Government. While the €25 million is very welcome it is not new money as some TD’s are claiming. I welcome the provision for a break in the tax year for some farmers who have got into difficulty. But tillage farmers will have to be looked after because of the problems they are facing with crop failure. But we will see the full break down of expenditure in the next few days.” He also welcomed the initiative on bog relocation, whereby people who want to sell a bog will benefit in terms of Capital Gains Tax.
Commenting on the Health elements Michael Fitzmaurice said “I heard nothing today in the budget to address the disastrous situation with regard to A & E units around the country and the massive waiting lists. I welcome the fact that there is extra funding for the National Treatment Purchase Fund which will be a help but much more needs to be done”
“For a country that has been highlighting about obesity and the need for our children to take exercise it is alarming that the Sports Capital Grant Scheme is 17% less than the last scheme two years ago ( there was no scheme at all last year). Either we are serious about having our people take exercise or we are not, We have a sugar tax coming up yet we are cutting back on grants to sports clubs around the country – It doesn’t make sense”.
“I am disappointed that the Minister did not address the pupil teacher ratio in smaller national schools. There is welcome provision for extra teachers but it is not a new announcement as we know that the number of pupils continues to grow.