Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle: Government economic statement glosses over realities on the ground

Thomas Pringle TD - Government economic statement glosses over realities on the ground

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, said food banks in Donegal and across the country are among the signs that Government policies are not working, in his criticism of the Government’s summer economic statement.

Addressing the Dáil on Thursday, Deputy Pringle said: “When you look in more detail, and you actually look on the ground at how people are trying to survive, that’s the problem, that people are trying to survive.” This is happening across the country and across the board, he said.

Deputy Pringle said: “And a lot of it is down to the policies, or lack of policies, of this government. Now if you are a vulture fund, or if you’re a cuckoo fund, or if you’re a multimillionaire, or if you’re somebody in the top 5 per cent of income take in this country, you’re doing very well and Government policies are actually working for you very well.”

The deputy pointed to the €2.4 billion the report stated was provided directly to people in the last budget cycle. Deputy Pringle said €1 billion of that was the energy break provided.

Deputy Pringle said: “And it was given to everybody. So if I’m a multimillionare with 10 houses, I got 10 times that. If I’m somebody who’s struggling to put my kids on the bus to school and for clothing for school, and have an electricity bill, I get that once.

“How is that fair?” he asked.

The deputy said: “Even in your own statement you say economic recovery is 5.6 per cent above pre-pandemic levels, so actually things are going very well in the State. But yet we still see the difficulties that people are having.”

Hie said there are at least three food banks in Donegal alone.

Deputy Pringle said: “How do we expect citizens to go to a food bank and to rely on food banks to actually feed their families? That’s a sad reflection. We should all be embarrassed about that.”

He said: “But you talk about how well the economy is doing. The economy is not doing well if citizens have to go to food banks and depend on that for survival for their families.”

Deputy Pringle said: “I heard the Tánaiste say here that electricity costs aren’t significant in terms of businesses – I’d love for him to tell the business that came into my office which saw their electricity bill go from €1,988 a month to €3,400 a month for the month of May. That’s a 42 per cent increase in one month. How are those small businesses supposed to survive?

“But you don’t care about small businesses. What you want to do is keep the multinationals happy, keep them going. But it’s those small businesses that are employing people in rural areas right around the country,” he said.

That’s what economic statements should look at, “instead of putting this gloss on it that things are going well”, he said.

Deputy Pringle said: “The people on the ground don’t feel that. They don’t see it. And they’re not living it. And that’s the reality of the situation.”