Waterford’s Fianna Fáil candidate has claimed that ‘real dangers’ hang over social provisions including Maternity Benefit in the event of Fine Gael leading the next government.
Councillor Mary Butler, a mother of three, warded against the prospect of Fine Gael being given “free reign to pursue its dangerous US-style tax regime”.
She contended: “I think people should be really worried about what Fine Gael is secretly planning and the impact it could have for families. We know they’re heavy on spin and Enda (Kenny) loves getting cheap and easy headlines ahead of the election but there are very serious implications of the American tax regime Fine Gael wants to implement in Ireland.
“For instance, maternity leave in the US is practically non-existent when compared with what we have here.”
Cllr Butler continued: “Federal law in the US only allows for 12 weeks unpaid maternity leave for new mothers. In Ireland we support women with 26 weeks paid leave. We cannot allow this to be undermined because of Fine Gael’s crackpot tax plan. The US is one of only three countries left in the world that does not guarantee paid maternity leave. That’s not a league I want Ireland in.”
Fianna Fáil’s standalone Waterford candidate said that the existing tax system has “built and supported essential social provisions, including Maternity Benefit…
“If Fine Gael is going to wage war on our social welfare supports with anti-family and anti-women policies in order to fund massive, unnecessary tax cuts for the most well-off they should at least come out and say it.
“Whatever tax model Ireland pursues it should support and not undermine essential benefits. I believe maternity leave and paternity leave are crucial social provisions that we need to protect and expand.”
She concluded: “It’s taken a long time to get these supports in place to help families all across the country. We don’t need Fine Gael’s slash and burn approach to undermine it all.”
Prior to Christmas, the Taoiseach told reporters: “One of the things we have to reach out to is to make personal tax rates competitive with Britain, and with Australia, and with Canada, and with the US.” That comment has since been seized upon by the opposition with no little regularity.