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Budget 2011 a "puppet Budget from puppet government" - opposition

The opposition parties, predictably, are less than enthused about the measures outlined by Brian Lenihan.

THE OPPOSITION PARTIES have roundly criticised the measures outlined by finance minister Brian Lenihan in this evening’s Budget, complaining that the IMF-sanctioned measures are those of a ‘puppet government’.

Fine Gael finances spokesman Michael Noonan said the government’s Budget had made the mistake of trying to “restore Ireland to where it was in Bertie Ahern’s time” instead of acknowledging that it was “dead and gone”.

Noonan said the Budget was without a “single progressive idea” supporting job creation, and the commitment to “continue its failed ‘blank cheques’ banking policy” meant the overall package was “not workable”.

Before this Budget, the Taoiseach’s salary was 13 times the minimum wage. After the Budget, it will be 14 times… Why would a government be so socially blind as to include vulnerable persons who contribute such a small amount of tax anyway?”

His Labour counterpart, Joan Burton, said the Budget could have been described as “the last sting of a dying wasp”, but surmised that the Budget was “a vicious sting” that carried a long tail life.

The Irish people had been forced to echo the old Oliver line – “Please Sir, give me some more austerity” – and said nothing grated the public more than “the sound of the two Brians” singing the High School Musical hit, ‘We’re All In This Together’.

“When I read the Irish deal, I just cringed for the small humiliations that were included in it,” Burton said, telling Lenihan:

I advised you from the time you took up your stint as MoF that you should get rid of the property-based tax reliefs… Ireland’s interest bill is €5.1bn a year now – three years ago it was €1.6bn.

It was through vital payments like child benefit, Burton said, that the government was making ordinary people pay for its own lax regulation.

Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty – elected to the Dáil just two weeks ago – said the Budget was “a disgrace” and said that “90 years on from the foundation of this state, Fianna Fail has once again used emigration as the safety valve” to rescue the public finances.

The policy behind this budget is not only morally wrong – it is economic sabotage… I don’t know how you have the neck to even present a budget. Your government has failed the people of Ireland. You have given away our sovereignty in much the same way your colleagues gave away our natural resources in the 80s.

“The public won’t take this Budget on the chin,” Doherty said, saying it had given its verdict of the Four Year Plan in the Donegal South-West by-election that had elected him. He said that “any TD who votes for these cuts deserves to be kicked out at the next general election.”