Sammy Says Sinn Fein's Financial Time Bomb Will Cause Economic Havoc
The abject failure of the Finance Minister to bring forward a budget for Northern Ireland before Christmas followed by Sinn Fein’s collapse of the Assembly, has left a financial time bomb which has the capability of wrecking the economy.
The stark reality is that there is no chance at all of having a budget in place before the start of the next financial year. Even if the day after the election a new executive was set up and a budget was agreed on that day the consultation period and Assembly process would not enable there to be a budget in place for April. The responsibility for this financial fiasco lies firmly at the door of Martin O'Muilleoir who neglected his duty as Finance Minister to present a budget to the Executive, something which needed to be done before Christmas.
The reasons for this are clear. Sinn Fein’s political cowardice resulted in them putting Party interests before the interests of the public, who require the public services which the budget would finance. I know from experience that budgets in a time of austerity, require hard decisions and the Finance Minister attracts the ire of interest groups who feel they have lost out. No doubt the People before Profit members in the Assembly would have made political capital out of a Sinn Fein austerity budget so the easy way out was to have no budget. In this way Pontius O'Muilleoir could claim his hands were clean.
Of course the result is that next year departments will have an immediate 5% reduction in the money available to them since this is the maximum that the permanent secretary of DFP can legally make. Also the money will be allocated on the basis of last years budget so new priorities cannot be considered. For voluntary groups this means that they have no certainty as to the money they will have and will soon be sending out 90 day notices to their staff. Additional funding promised to the Health Service will not be able to be made. Sinn Fein are proving once again that they are better at wrecking than building. This is the reason they must not be rewarded in the forthcoming elections which they have brought about, hoping to overturn the result of the election last May. The people of Northern Ireland must ensure that these dishonest wreckers are not rewarded.
Ironically if, as they have suggested, they will not form a new Executive until the Westminster Government agrees to fund cases against army and police personnel, agree to allow Northern Ireland to remain part of the EU arrangements, stop the DUP exercising its right to block legislation on a range of moral issues etc, then we could be in for a period of Direct Rule. Who would set the budget then? It would be a Conservative Minister. How ironic would that be - the left wing Sinn Fein would have handed over the financial reins to the hated Tories.
However, this should surprise no one. These political cowards who opposed Tory welfare cuts volunteered to let Westminster legislate for welfare changes last year. Now it appears they are prepared to surrender the whole budget to the Tories because they are afraid to make decisions themselves. What a bunch of political chickens. No wonder Sinn Fein, the Party before People Party are losing out to People before Profit.