Once again Government cutbacks were the main topic of Leaders' Questions this morning in the Dáil. The Labour Leader Eamon Gilmore urged the Taoiseach to tell the House the full picture of what exactly the Government intends to do before the House goes into the summer recess.
He said: "Only a small part of the picture of what the Government has in store for the people of the country over the coming months. It would appear the announcement made yesterday was packaged for public relations purposes.
Following the Government's announcement yesterday to make cutbacks of €440million the Labour Leader Eamon Gilmore TD has said the Government's plans are not a plan for the economy rather more of a back of the envelope book-keeping exercise.
He said that while there were some prudent measures included some of which have been sought by the Labour Party including the dropping of the Ministerial pay increases much of it appears to be full of headline grabbers "which appear to be designed more to restore political confidence in the Government than to restore confidence in the economy".
He added: "The astonishing thing about this is that it says little or nothing to the 54,000 people who lost their jobs over the last year."
"You are full of bluster and bluster will not get you out of this," the Labour Leader Eamon Gilmore TD told the Taoiseach today during Leaders' Questions when questioning the Taoiseach about what 'corrective action' the Government intends to take given the economic difficulties facing the country.
"The cutbacks are already happening. When the Taoiseach talks about crorrevtive action, this is what he is talking about, let us clear about it. Is this the corrective action about which he is talking?, Eamon continued.
During Leaders' Questions in the Dáil this morning, the Labour Leader Eamon Gilmore TD focused on the role of banks given the serious state of the economy.
"When the economy was booming, the banks were in the driving seat and you could get a loan for anything and they were pushing money at people. Now that the economic circumstances have changed somewhat the tune of the banks has also changed and it appears they are behaving in a way that could add to our economic difficulties.
Today the ESRI came out and said what many had been thinking: Ireland is in recession.
Brian Cowen, who until April was Minister for Finance, has led us to the worse economic results in 25 years. Speaking in the Dáil today, the Leader of the Labour Party, Eamon Gilmore TD, was looking for any sign at all that the Government has a plan to get us out of the recession they created through their mismanagement of the property boom.
Speaking ahead of tonight's Private Members' Motion which has been tabled by the Labour Party seeking an extension of the Dáil sitting time over the summer period, the Labour Leader Eamon Gilmore TD told the House how the lengthy summer recess is unacceptable given the serious economic problems facing the country.
Deputy Gilmore said: "Ireland is now facing big problems; the Live Register has passed the 200,000 mark, the biggest increase in unemployment over the last year in 40 years. Jobs are being lost in our economy at a rate of 235 a day, 1600 a week.
A tax scam which was first raised by Labour Party Spokesperson on Finance Deputy Joan Burton which in 2006 cost the Irish exchequer €250m was raised today during Leaders' Questions in the Dáil this morning.
This is the scam whereby developers purchasing developing land can get away without paying stamp duty. (You can find out more details about this in the accompanying video.)
Addressing the Taoiseach, Deputy Gilmore said: "Can you explain to homebuyers who have to pay stamp duty for their home, some of whom have paid stamp duty for homes they have purchased that are worth a lot less than the money paid for them.
This week has seen more bad news on the economic front. As the downturn intensifies, the amount of money coming into the Government coffers is falling, and people are loosing their jobs. Redundancies are up by one third in the first two month of this year, and unemployment is climbing. The question is who will bear the burden of these changes?
The economy must be put back to the top of the political agenda, Labour Leader Deputy Eamon Gilmore told the national executive of SIPTU today. He said out economic prospects have become more uncertain and against the background of increasing turmoil, there is an urgent need for Ireland to consider afresh our economic future. He said that over the next year Labour would be developing and advancing a new socio-economic agenda.
Budget 08 is overall a disappointing budget which has not lived up to the expectations particularly the Social Welfare and Tax packages. Increases in social welfare payments are way below the increases granted last year, while Child Benefit was raised by €6 a week, way below the rate of inflation.