The Working Class must resist budget onslaught

This government is leading the country to increased poverty, increased unemployment, and long-term recession, and the working class must lead the resistance to their jaded and failed policies – according to Michael Finnegan, president of the Workers Party.

“Over the last few days” said Mr Finnegan “we have had the monthly figures for employment, the 10-month exchequer returns, and the government’s own medium-term fiscal statement. What is increasingly clear is that the old, failed, thinking that got us into this crisis still dominates the government and the state bureaucracy”.


“The unemployment figures once again showed a steady increase and it is now clear that despite high emigration the live register figures will soon hit the dreaded milestone of 500,000. The October monthly returns once again show a decline in the domestic economy with the key indicators of income tax and VAT showing a decline in real terms.”


“Friday’s pre-budget statement by the government demonstrates, once again, their obsession with slash and burn economics; their fanatical commitment to protecting the wealthy and high earners in the country; and their inability to grasp that only through investment and the creation of real and sustainable jobs can Ireland emerge from this crisis”.


“The downward economic spiral must be ended. The government continues to repay billions to non-guaranteed bondholders of Anglo Irish Bank with money we, as taxpayers have had to borrow. This is dead money. This money should be spent in creating jobs in this country – not lining the pockets of shadowy money lenders in far-flung tax havens”.


“Household debt” continued Mr Finnegan “is at an all-time high, with thousands of families unable to meet their weekly bills and many facing the real prospect of losing their homes. Yet the government plans to heap more misery on this sector with multiple stealth taxes adding up to as much as €600 per year per household.  To compound this misery services to the weakest in society, those in need of medical care, and young people with special education needs are being savaged.”


“We must contrast these attacks with the government’s refusal to even discuss a wealth tax; their total refusal to introduce a third tax band for high earners, ie those over €120,000 per year; as well as the hysteria with which they defend the 12.5% corporate tax rate. SNAs and up to 2,000 teaching jobs are being axed while the €100 million annual subsidy to private fee paying schools continue. Frontline services in our public hospitals are being eroded on a daily basis yet the tax subsidy to private hospitals and private health insurance continues. The state refuses to build any social housing but subsidises private landlords by more that half a billion Euro per year. Licences to exploit our gas and oil reserves are being handed out for free to multinational companies at a time of record prices and world shortages”.


“This is more than economic ignorance by the government – it is economic sabotage. The Irish working class must to defend its interests and resist these continuing attacks from the government, the troika, and international and native capitalism. We must learn from the experience of the Greek working class and their organisations, and from other instances of mass resistance movements in other countries, and from our own experience of struggle over the last 20 years.”.


Issued: Sunday 6th Nov 2011

Peace, Work, Democracy and Class Politics