New cabinet faces, same tired politics

"The programme for government" continued Mr Finnegan "makes it clear and explicit that while there may be new cooks in the kitchen, the recipe is exactly the same".

"When the 31st Dáil assembled at noon today" stated Michael Finnegan, President of the Workers' Party "the incoming government had the largest majority in history. More than 66% of all TDs will be members of the governing coalition".

"This towering majority should give the new government the authority to sweep away the cobwebs of the discredited FF/PD/Green coalition and chart a new path for this country. Sadly it is clear that this will not be the case. The programme for government" continued Mr Finnegan "makes it clear and explicit that while there may be new cooks in the kitchen, the recipe is exactly the same".

"The greatest millstone around the necks of the Irish people is the EU/IMF deal with its criminal interest rates and counterproductive deadlines for deficit cutting. Despite all their bluffing and bluster during the election campaign Fine Gael and Labour have meekly accepted the rules imposed on us by the EU/IMF last November. Tinkering at the edges with an 0.25% change in the interest rate will not substantially change the picture at all. Over the next two years, the most vital years to stop the rot and start economic recovery the new coalition has committed itself to exactly the same conditions as Fianna Fáil accepted. In the December budget we have seen the devastation which that deal created amongst workers, amongst the unemployed, and amongst those dependent on Social Welfare payments. This devastation will be doubled next December, and further increased in December 2012". 

"What is omitted from the programme for government are as revealing as what is included. Significantly all mention of a wealth tax is excluded, all mention of a third tax rate for high earners is omitted; all mention of the elimination of the rules which allow an elite coterie of super rich to become tax exiles is excluded. It is clear that the tax burden will continue to fall on already stressed workers and households  while the top 5% of income earners and wealth holders remain completely untouched. It is also significant that there is no mention in the agreed programme for government of the proper utilisation of our natural resources. This Dáil will convene as oil prices hover at $112 per barrel. Oil and gas are the most valuable and fought-over resources in the world. Ireland has proven large offshore reserves of oil and gas. Through Fianna Fail corruption these reserves have been signed away with zero benefit to the Irish people. The least we would have expected from this incoming government is a full Garda fraud squad enquiry into why those deals were signed, and a commitment to immediately reverse them".

"The present crisis of capitalism, either globally or nationally, was not caused by low paid workers, was not caused by pensioners or carers or the unemployed; was not  caused by nurses or teachers or classroom assistants. Yet these are the groups that have been targeted by the state in order to refloat capitalism and to refloat the pre-existing banking system. It is an outrage  that the most vulnerable are being asked to pay for the crimes of the most powerful elite. We will be ever vigilant that this government ceases to target the weakest in society and ensure that the pain is borne by those who caused this meltdown in the first instance" concluded Mick Finnegan.

Issued: Wed 9th March 2011 

Peace, Work, Democracy, and Class Politics