The cost of living is crippling people

Deputy Pauline Tully (SF) outlines her political aspirations for 2023...

I would like to wish all the people of Cavan, Monaghan and North Meath a very happy and healthy New Year and I wish to thank you all for your support throughout 2022.

I look forward to working for you on the many issues that affect you and to making this constituency a brilliant place to live. As Sinn Féin spokesperson for Disability and Carers, I will continue to monitor government action and hold them to account on issues they have promised to address.

2022 was a difficult year and while people were happy that the restrictions imposed as a result of the Covid infection where for the most part lifted, meaning people were free to mix again many other problems presented themselves. Unfortunately, Covid and other respiratory illnesses are still affecting people and I want to recognise the great work that our medical personnel do to help people in our communities and in our hospitals.

Housing continues to be one of the big issues that affected people throughout last year and will continue to affect many over the next year and beyond if the government don’t tackle this problem and construct sufficient social and affordable houses. The lack of housing is affecting recruitment within our health service, within our education service and many other middle-income professions. The lack of housing is the reason that most young people are emigrating as they cannot enjoy a decent standard of living in Ireland and the hope of owning their own home in Ireland is no longer achievable. I want to see changes in Ireland, which would make it possible for young people to return to live here if that is their wish.

The cost of living, especially of fuel, is crippling people with many having to choose to eat or heat. This has been caused by the war in Ukraine, which is beyond our control, but it presents opportunities for this country to look to our natural resources and to start the serious planning required, which could see us being net contributors of energy in Europe.

I would like to welcome those who have come to live here from Ukraine and hope that there will be a successful conclusion to the war and that they have the opportunity to return to their homeland sooner rather later. I want to welcome other nationalities who seek international protection here and that they will come to see Ireland as their home.

We have recently witnessed a change of Taoiseach where Micheál Martin stood aside to allow Leo Varadkar to take his place. This is unprecedented and not something that has happened before. Generally, a change in Taoiseach happens when there is a change of Government in the aftermath of a general election. That is what is needed now if the issues of housing, of hospital waiting lists, of children waiting for assessment of need and intervention or therapies are going to be addressed. I hope that 2023 will see the people been given the chance to vote in a new government who will make the difference.