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Friday 2 June 2023 Dublin: 10°C
HighlandBlade via Flickr
# Penguins
€700,000 for penguins - a month before the Budget
Does Social Protection minister Éamon Ó Cuív include penguins in his constituent base now?

A LABOUR TD has attacked Social Protection minister Éamon Ó Cuív after he defended plans to spend €672,500 in state funds on a penguin sanctuary in Galway.

The minister insisted that the grant – being used to build a new sanctuary at the Atlantaquaria aquarium in Salthill, Ireland’s national aquarium – would help to boost tourism in the west and help create the jobs.

“It’s important we continue to invest in our tourism product, so we can be best placed to take full advantage when better economic conditions return,” Ó Cuív – who is a local TD for the area – said.

Labour’s Ciarán Lynch, however, has taken issue with the proposals – remarking to the Irish Sun that the money could have been spent on social welfare, particularly when the forthcoming Budget was likely to cut so much welfare spending.

“This has come at a time when you have those on social welfare looking at a cut in dole coming up to Christmas and pensioners still waiting for a return of their Christmas bonus, which was axed two years ago.”

The project has been defended by Fáilte Ireland West, however, commenting that penguins “are a big draw – people love to look at them”.