Commenting on yesterday’s Budget Senator Ardagh said, “The past five years of Fine Gael-led government have been tragic and unfair for vulnerable families and communities.
“Without the influence of Fianna Fáil, in opposition, Fine Gael would have been free to continue with their right wing agenda when it comes to social welfare.
“While we did not get everything we wanted, we did make some vital gains. I welcome the €5 per week increase in the State pension, which Fianna Fáil stipulated in the Confidence and Supply arrangement, and also the increase in other welfare payments.
“However, poverty and deprivation rates in Ireland are still shockingly unacceptable; 134,000 children are in consistent poverty, whilst almost 60% of one parent households are experiencing deprivation.
“This Budget is just the first step of many that are necessary to form a society which is fair for everyone, and not just the privileged few. It failed to alleviate many of the issues facing lone parents and only offered a slight increase to young jobseekers. It also failed to address the anomaly in calculating the contributory pension which disadvantages women in particular who spent time out of the workforce caring for children or elderly relatives.
“There is much work still do be done. We have a long road ahead of us towards achieving a fairer, more equitable society.”