Ireland’s Budget 2022 was hailed as “a step in the right direction” by some Irish charities, but others criticised it as being a “missed opportunity”.
The Irish Cancer Society described the €20 million dedicated to improving cancer services as “a step in the right direction”.
But they warned that more funding is needed to deliver “world-class” cancer services for Ireland.
“The crisis in cancer care caused by historical under-investment, the pandemic and the cyber-attack means that more will be needed to build the resilient, sustainable cancer system that is the vision of the National Cancer Strategy,” Irish Cancer Society Director of Advocacy Rachel Morrogh said.
Ms Morrogh called for assurances that the National Cancer Strategy “will be supported with significant additional allocations to deal with waiting lists for cancer services and the considerable impact Covid-19 has had”.
Meanwhile, the Peter McVerry Trust welcomed the additional funding awarded to housing and homelessness, including six billion for social and affordable housing.
“The zoned land tax will also help deal with the issue of vacant sites in town centres, specifically with the removal of any threshold as regards site sizes,” Pat Doyle, the charity’s CEO, said. “While we recognise that the tax is some way off a signal has been sent to landholders.
“Unfortunately, one item that was expected to be included in this budget is progressing the vacant homes tax and its absence from today’s budget is disappointing.”
Homelessness charity Focus Ireland expressed “deep concern” over a lack of action to help people on low and middle income living in the private rental sector, while welcoming the additional funding for housing.
“This budget will help many groups keep their heads above water, but one of the most striking omissions is the failure to increase the level of rent support for the 60,000 households currently on the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and a further 20,000 on Rent Supplement,” Director of Advocacy, Mike Allen said.
“The level of rent subsidy to these 80,000 households has not been increased since 2016 but during that time the Government has sanctioned rent increases of up to 4% a year – amounting to almost 20%.”
Mr Allen said the moves on Zone Land Tax were “long overdue” but expressed frustration at the further two-year delay in implementing it.
Concern Worldwide said the increase in overseas development assistance “reflects the support of the Irish people for overseas aid and our collective commitment to responding to crises”.
The Government announced a €140 million increase in overseas development assistance for next year, bringing the total budget to over €1 billion for the first time.
Alone, which supports older people to age at home, criticised the budget, describing it as “a missed opportunity to make Ireland a country fairer for old and young alike”.
The charity warned that the Budget 2022 highlighted that Ireland is still a place where the elderly must strive for their quality of life, while the increase in the pension of €5 a week leaves it €33.18 below the poverty line, Alone added.
“This is another missed opportunity by Government to deliver on its commitment to benchmark the State Pension at 34% of average weekly earnings. At this rate, it will be Budget 2030 before a government finally reaches this target,” said Alone CEO Seán Moynihan.