Poor 'not impressed with Noonan's upbeat estimate'
Poorer people have dismissed Finance Minister Michael Noonan's optimistic estimate that the economy will grow by 4.5pc this year.
They are also unimpressed by his promise there will be no need for additional tax hikes or spending cuts in next month's Budget.
The Society of St Vincent de Paul said last night the "talk of growth since the beginning of the year has not translated into improved living standards for the people who seek our assistance."
Social Justice Ireland's Fr Sean Healy also said that "the vast majority of people have not felt any benefits this year. They are still living in hope."
A Vincent de Paul spokesman said "growth at the levels suggested would be very welcome and should allow the Government to restore some of the supports taken from people on social welfare and in employment on low incomes during five years of austerity."
Fr Healy, who yesterday met Department of Finance officials to spell out Social Justice Ireland's proposals for the Budget, said the key thing, if there were additional resources, should be a focus on improving services which had been cut.
"We need substantial new investment because without it there won't be jobs and we have a very high level of people locked into long-term unemployment".
He stressed the need for an investment in social housing. "There are over 90,000 households on the waiting list for social housing."
Broadband had to be rolled out in rural areas so that people could do business and any tax cuts should favour low and middle-income groups rather than the rich.
"Some of the proposals being discussed in recent times would have the opposite effect," he added.