Galway East TD and Minister for Rural Affairs Seán Canney has outlined his priorities for Budget 2020.

The key areas are as follows:

Specific funding is needed to tackle home care hours for the elderly to keep them safe and comfortable in their homes. We need to eliminate waiting times for these crucial supports. The length of time it takes to assess Carer’s Allowance applications is too long. I have also asked the Minister for Finance to review the criteria for the concession of VRT for people with disabilities.

The capitation grant for Primary Schools needs to be increased to ensure that schools can survive the financial challenges that running a school presents. The pupil-teacher ratio is a very important issue and I have requested that the Departments of Education and Finance should look at this, particularly for small rural schools.

I believe that we need to retain the Help to Buy Scheme for first time home-makers. With increases in rents, it has become impossible for young people to save for a 10% deposit. The Help to Buy Scheme is a lifeline for first time buyers.
I also believe that we need to increase investment in municipal waste water treatment plants at selected growth centres to facilitate the construction of affordable homes.

Farming – and especially our beef sector – will continue to need our support, particularly in light of Brexit. We need to work in partnership with the European Union to ensure that supports are planned and delivered.

The Budget needs to provide adequate funding to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) to meet the demand for Energy Improvement Schemes for our existing housing stock. These schemes are vital if we are to achieve our Climate Action targets.
It is also essential that we provide the necessary funding for a Just Transition to new ways of producing energy. In particular, Budget 2020 needs to ensure that we adequately resource Bord na Mona in its transition from a brown to green company. It is my firm belief that Bord na Mona will define our Climate Action intent and become the model for all to follow. In order to achieve that goal, Budget 2020 has an opportunity to help towards its delivery.

In light of Brexit uncertainty, this is a challenging Budget. However, it is vital that we continue to care for the most vulnerable in our society, nurture our young people and support Climate Action in order to protect our environment.

For more information, contact Minister Canney on 086-2513639
October 4 2019