Finance Minister Michael Noonan TD flabbergasted the nation yesterday with his call on people to go on a shopping “splurge” and start spending money in the shops again. On the same programme he suggested people should wear T-shirts emblazoned with the motto “
Ireland is not Greece”. Like Marie Antoinette, the pressure is clearly getting to him.
“The question the Irish people are asking the Minister” said Workers’ Party president Michael Finnegan is “how can we shop when you have your hand permanently in our pocket?”
“The reality for the Irish people” continued Mr Finnegan “is that Mr. Noonan’s Fine Gael party, in coalition with the Labour Party, are continuing the austerity policies introduced by the previous Fianna Fáil led government which they agreed with the EU and IMF without consulting the people of Ireland. These policies have seen vicious attacks on workers pay, on jobs and on the poor. Public sector workers have been singled out for the worst attacks. They have had an Income Levy imposed three years ago and have also been hit by other tax changes. There is an ongoing recruitment ban in the public service which is causing chaos for the public at large”.
“There were vicious cuts in social welfare payments and move to blame the unemployed for the crisis. Pensioners and other vulnerable groups were targeted. All of this to initially bail out the Irish banks and is now a much bigger game to protect major European banks, maintain the Euro, and defend the capitalist “European project””.
“Having ideologically endorsed Fianna Fáil’s knife-wielding, Noonan and his government colleagues, have continued the slash and burn economics. How can he possibly expect people to go on a shopping splurge? With what are they supposed to buy these goods? Get into more personal debt? The ancient nursery rhyme “Old Mother Hubbard” comes to mind. Like Mother Hubbard, the Irish people can see that the cupboard is bare”.
“The Irish people can recognise that Minister Noonan is living in a Marie Antoinette fantasy world. It is only by job creation, the equitable redistribution of wealth, and the proper utilisation of all, our natural resources that this country can survive. That is why, once again, we are calling for a third tax band of 50% for income over €120,000, a proper wealth tax, an expansion of the productive state commercial sector, and the use of our oil and gas on the Norwegian model. Flights of fancy, and “let them eat cake” pronouncements are not even funny at this stage”.