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Noonan's comments "arrogant" and "detached"

19 December 2015
Sinn Féin General Election candidate Cllr Maurice Quinlivan has hit back at comments made by Minister Noonan in Thursday's edition of the Limerick Leader by describing the remarks as "arrogant" and "detached".

 Councillor Quinlivan said: “I felt Minister Noonan's comments were both arrogant and detached. He seems to be completely disconnected from the reality of everyday life in communities throughout Limerick. He has a brass neck to criticise Sinn Féin on economic matters when his policies have devastated the lives of thousands of ordinary people over the last five years.

 “Despite what Minister Noonan and Government spin doctors would have you believe, our alternative budget submissions have been fully costed ­ by his own department. It's deeply ironic to receive a charge of "economic illiteracy" from a Minister whose Government has overseen emigration of 300,000 people during its term of office, a record comparable only to the worst days of the 1950's.

 “What he really means, when he lashes out at Sinn Féin, is that he completely disagrees with an economic perspective centred on fairness and equality. However, he is a shrewd man. He knows that saying this wouldn't go down too well in many parts of Limerick.

 “Minister Noonan also knows that it would be politically dangerous to clearly admit that he doesn't believe that people, regardless of income, should have access to decent healthcare, quality education and robust social protections. Instead of being honest about his view, he hides behind talk of “economic literacy tests” as a follow on from other baseless phrases like "fantasy economics". What Minister Noonan labels as fantasy, the ordinary person on the street recognises as fairness.

 "So while I get frustrated with the nature of his comments, I am not worried. The ordinary people of Limerick know the score. The mask has slipped in around water charges and Irish water. People look at conditions for patients and frontline staff in University Hospital Limerick and they realise that this government does not want a functioning public health service. People understand what Fine Gael are all about ­ protecting the wealthy elite ­ no matter how hard their publicity department works to sugar coat it.

 “I want an economy in which enterprise is encouraged and hard work is rewarded, but which ultimately works for the betterment of society and not the other way around. I make no apologies for arguing for fair and progressive taxation. That is a concept which makes Fine Gael and the Minister very uncomfortable because they represent the well­heeled in society.

 “The Minister wants an economy and a society completely driven and dominated by market forces, where those who earn the most get away with contributing the least. He should just state that as his position and present his real argument to the people.

 “Unfortunately he would rather attack Sinn Féin with hollow PR lines. His approach is getting tiresome and very boring, very fast.

 “Ultimately, it will be the people who will decide who is fit to govern and manage the economy, not Michael Noonan.”