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Here's how Labour TDs and Senators were told to spin the Budget... and slam the opposition

Deputies and senators got a fancy-looking tip sheet ahead of Tuesday’s Budget.

The Thick of It's Malcolm Tucker is considered a master of political spin
The Thick of It's Malcolm Tucker is considered a master of political spin
Image: BBC via YouTube

LABOUR TDS AND Senators were given a double-sided laminated sheet with tips on how to put a positive spin on the Budget and slam the opposition parties.

Though the issuing of such guidance is not unusual the sheet provides a fascinating insight into sort of Budget talking points that Labour members have been briefed on ahead of media interviews and meetings with constituents.

On one side of the sheet, seen by TheJournal.ie, there are over a dozen talking points about Budget 2015.

The sheet points out that the Budget ”cements the recovery through shared prosperity” and says that “the Irish people suffered hugely because of the crisis that Fianna Fáil caused and Sinn Féin would have worsened”.

It says that Budget 2015 is “supporting working families and low and middle income earners” and is “building homes for families”.

The sheet was distributed to Labour parliamentary party members on Monday evening and does not contain any specifics in relation to the Budget announcement on Tuesday.

However it notes the impending cuts in the Universal Social Charge (USC) which had already been well-flagged beforehand.

‘More reliant on magic beans’

The other side of the sheet has two panels, one for Sinn Féin and another for Fianna Fáil.

It refers to Sinn Féin’s “budget in a vacuum” and points out that what the opposition party is proposing is “more reliant on magic beans than real figures.”

“It is a Budget in a vacuum, more reliant on magic beans than real figures,” the sheet says.

It says that there is “no analysis” of the cumulative effect of Sinn Féin’s proposed economic measures and points to previous guidance on this from the Department of Finance.

It says that Sinn Féin wants middle income earners “to pay more tax on their pensions” and has “no properly costed proposals to replace water and property charges”.

It also points out that while the party proposes ending schemes like JobBridge and Gateway, its president Gerry Adams wrote to Tánaiste Joan Burton asking her to extend JobBridge to those not receiving welfare.

The Fianna Fáil proposals are dismissed “uncosted, unreliable and irrelevant” and the sheet says the party has “little or no credibility on the economy”.

“Despite criticising the government’s approach, Fianna Fáil would reverse few, if any, of our key economic policies,” it says.

It says that Fianna Fáil called for a €220 million budget adjustment in its pre-Budget submission, is proposing €361 million in taxes on families, and says its education costs take no account of extra children in our schools.

Read: Micheál Martin doesn’t like that Noonan and Howlin tweeted about their ties yesterday…

Read: Michael Noonan denies Budget is ‘a series of smart-alecky tricks’

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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