LABOUR HAS driven a further wedge between itself and Fine Gael by unveiling a new newspaper advertisement, to appear in today’s papers, in which it condemns the country’s most popular party for its proposed cuts to child benefit.
Labour’s advertisement, pictured, complains that Fine Gael’s fiscal plan proposes to cut child benefit payments by 7.5 per cent – a burden it said Ireland’s families can not afford.
(Click the ad to view it in larger resolution.)
The party’s social and family protection minister Róisín Shortall said the ad compared Fine Gael’s policies with Labour’s own, which included commitments to protect child benefit and ensure a “fair and balanced” taxation system.
“Fine Gael is trying to hide its programme of cuts, charges and stealth taxes from the public, but the voters are entitled to know the full picture before they go to the polls on February 25th,” Shortall said, appealing to undecided voters to give Labour candidates their first preference votes.
Fine Gael responded critically to the ad, with a party spokesman telling TheJournal.ie that Labour had “no credibility on the economy… they’re a high-tax party who don’t want to discuss their high-tax policies, so they’re focussing on Fine Gael policy which is fully costed, and published since before Christmas.”
Referring to the deadline laid down by the EU for complying with its budget rules, the spokesman added:
They [Labour] have U-turned on the fiscal correction with regard to 2014 - and in the middle of an election, that does not auger well for holding their nerve in government.
The Labour ad had been presented in “a pejorative way”, the spokesman added, explaining that the party’s plans would leave child benefit untouched for the first few years, before slowly reducing allowances paid to better-off families.