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Nulty to vote against Budget - 40 days after becoming a Labour TD

The Dáil’s newest member says he will vote against the Budget, saying the household charge and VAT hike are “deeply regressive”.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Updated, 18:44

THE NEWEST MEMBER of the Dáil, Labour TD Patrick Nulty, has confirmed he is to vote against the Budget this evening.

Nulty, who was elected less than six weeks ago, will automatically forfeit his membership of the Labour Parliamentary Party as a result.

In a statement this evening, the Dublin West TD said the Budget was fundamentally “unjust” – and described the planned increases in VAT, and the introduction of the €100 household charge, as “deeply regressive”.

The Budget “hinders our prospects for economic recovery”, he said, and would have a particular impact on smaller earners because they were more likely to spend – and be hit by the VAT increase – than to save their money.

He also said the government’s plans to cut the number of jobs in the public sector, and to reduce capital spending, “is the last thing we need with soaring levels of unemployment”.

He further argued that the €543 million cut to the health budget, on top of the €1bn cut to that sector last year, would “have a devastating effect”, while the increase of public transport fares would “hit people on low and average incomes disproportionately hard”.

In his statement, Nulty said he had “put forward a number of constructive proposals in advance of the budget that outlined how the Government could increase revenues to narrow the budget deficit as required”.

I am disappointed that these were not implemented. I am not prepared to support measures which damage our economic recovery while attacking the weak, the sick, the marginalised and the vulnerable.

Nulty was elected to the Dáil just forty days ago, but had pledged to oppose any government plans that would involve the reduction of services in Blanchardstown hospital or which would have a negative impact on the worst-off.

Calls to resign

Fianna Fáil councillor David McGuinness, who came second in the Dublin West by-election, has called on Nulty to resign his seat altogether – claiming Nulty had “deceived the electorate” by running on a government ticket:

Patrick Nulty adamantly told RTÉ Radio 1 listeners that he would always vote with the Labour Party. He said he wanted to get into Leinster House to influence Government policy and stand up for the people of Dublin West.

This evening in Leinster House, he has reneged on his word and I know that many people in Dublin 15 and Swords will be sore at his deception.

Nulty’s de facto resignation the Labour parliamentary ranks means that Eamon Gilmore’s party has now lost three TDs since the election, with Nulty following former junior minister Willie Penrose, and Dublin North East backbencher Tommy Broughan.

Ironically, the seat occupied by Nulty for electronic Dáil voting is the one that was vacated by Penrose only a few weeks ago.

Denis Naughten, a TD in Roscommon-South Leitrim, has already resigned the Fine Gael whip over its decision to downgrade the emergency department at Roscommon hospital.

While the resignation does not put the government’s majority under threat – with the combined Fine Gael and Labour parties still claiming 109 Dáil votes, some 26 clear of the threshold for a majority – it will come as a fresh blow to Labour amid the political pressure of its first Budget.

Nulty’s resignation is particularly pressing for the government because he is a TD for Dublin West – the same constituency as Social Protection minister Joan Burton, whose department has seen major funding cuts in this Budget.

The other TDs for the constituency are Fine Gael’s transport minister Leo Varadkar, and the Socialist Party’s Joe Higgins.

Column: I will vote against the government on the Budget tonight – here’s why

Labour’s Patrick Nulty takes Dublin West after count drama

Budget Day (pt 2) – the main points from Michael Noonan’s announcement

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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