Senator Maurice Cummins has claimed that an unused vote in June’s local and European elections would, in real terms, represent a vote in favour of the Government.

“I would urge people to go out and vote and let Fianna Fáil know that it is payback time for the electorate and that they are not willing to pay for these mistakes and the reckless policies of bankers and developers,” he said.

In his post-Budget statement, Senator Cummins said that Minister Brian Lenihan’s latest intervention would not help to create jobs or stimulate a flagging economy.

“The acceptance by this Government that unemployment will increase massively this year and next is a damning indictment of Fianna Fáil and the Greens,” according to the Waterford Senator.

He said the Budget was notable in its absence of his party’s proposed VAT cut, PRSI relief for employers and its ‘green economy’ stimulus programme.

“Higher taxes account for almost 60 per cent of the overall package as against 32 per cent recommended by Fine Gael,” he continued.

“This Budget shows no evidence that employment was ever a priority with this Government. Jobs should have been the centre of this Budget, creating them, sustaining them and giving people a chance to stimulate the economy through hard work. It has failed miserably.”

Senator Cummins said that middle income earners had once again “borne the brunt of tax” increases.

“They are the ones that are now asked to pay for Fianna Fáil’s mistakes. An average family earning €60,000 per annum will lose €4,600 as a consequence of this Government’s action, a decline of eight per cent in their income.

“This is in addition to an extra €3,500 which was put on families in the last Budget. So, in six months – this Government has taken €8,100 off the average family. People on €17,000 will even be €1,000 worse off.”